Fundamentals still strong across the Intermountain West, poised for market turnaround

As seen in Western Real Estate Business Journal>>

Kevin Brinkman
Kevin Brinkman, Founder & CEO

Written by: Kevin Brinkman, Co-Founder & CEO, Brinkman Real Estate

Multifamily investing is showing signs of a resurgence. In addition to recent large transactions by industry titans signaling confidence in the market, a new survey from John Burns Consulting & Research showed investor interest is consistently rising with nearly 40% of investors intending to acquire in the next six months. This is up 16% from last quarter and 28% from the previous quarter. Blackstone, the biggest buyer of property this year, echoes this sentiment in a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal where Nadeem Meghji, global co-head of Blackstone Real Estate encourages investors to go back on the offense before it’s too late. He compares the current state of the industry to the 2009-10 market when commercial real estate was at an all-time low and affirms unequivocally, “That was the opportune time for us to be doubling down” (Grant, 2024).

It would seem we’re in a golden window of opportunity for investors before we head into recovery. Yet, many investors are still holding on to their capital and waiting for us to hit the true bottom of the cycle. Understandably, cap rate expansion is causing investors seeking short-term gains to stay in a holding pattern, but those with a long-term outlook can acquire at an excellent basis and still make opportunities pencil.

March jobs report - NARS


A Growing Pool of Renters in the West

The March 2024 jobs report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics was a shot of optimism, confirming a robust labor market and its positive impact on economic growth across the nation. The report showed a significant increase in employment, with 303,000 new jobs added, a larger increase than the previous 12 months and the 39th month in a row of gains. The unemployment rate also showed a positive trend, falling from 3.9% in the previous month to 3.8%. This decrease resulted in 29,000 fewer people being unemployed.

In addition to a healthy job market, the population is surging. The U.S. witnessed a record-breaking population increase of 3.8 million last year, and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) predicts this growth to continue due in large part to elevated immigration trends. Their latest demographic outlook estimates that net immigration in the next two years will be more than the total net immigration of the previous decade: 3.3 million in 2024, 2.6 million in 2025, and 1.8 million in 2026, compared to 900,000 annually 2010-2019.

demographic-factors-that (1)

While things are looking positive nationally, the Intermountain West region is a standout. Several states continue to enjoy outsized population and job growth as people leave more populated cities and head west. What was assumed to be a pandemic-fueled boom has sustained in the post-COVID era as people are consistently drawn to the exceptional quality of life, thriving job markets, and access to the outdoors of the mountain states. Looking at the last five years, Idaho, Utah, Nevada, Montana, and Arizona are among the states with the highest employment growth, and Idaho, Utah, and Montana are also the top three states in the nation for population growth (10%, 7% and 6% growth, respectively) (Sløk, 2024).

Idaho population growth - 2

These metrics coupled with income growth in the region outpacing much of the country (U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, 2024) make for a growing pool of renters with stable jobs and financial security, a combination that bodes well for occupancy rates and healthy rental income streams in the region.

The Supply/Demand Equilibrium

Despite initial anxieties surrounding the new construction wave hitting the market in 2023 and 2024, occupancy rates in the Intermountain West have remained stable. Even with the influx of units, net absorption is positive and new data showcases a strong first quarter for net leasing in the region. Additionally, the rent-to-own discount is deeper in the mountain states with median home prices some of the highest in the country (Hunter, 2024). There’s no wonder why apartment living continues to be an increasingly attractive option, and why less renters than ever are shifting to home ownership. The construction frenzy continues to decrease from its surge in 2022, with the next few months showing a 70% drop from the peak. As the growing population quickly absorbs the new units hitting the market in the next 12-18 months, supply and demand will rebalance, pushing occupancy and rent growth back to historic norms. While most industry experts agree that we’ll likely not see another rental market as hot as 2021, all signs still point to a stabilizing rental market poised for a solid comeback.

The multifamily real estate market is on the cusp of a substantial resurgence, and we believe the window of opportunity is now. Bullish investors will benefit from the confluence of population growth, housing unaffordability, a healthy job market, and new supply dropping. This sweet spot – where there’s still uncertainty in the market keeping competition at bay – is where the best opportunities are found.


Hunter. [@StatisticsUrban]. (2024, March 18). New map: median US house price by state. A good visualization of the west’s immense housing crisis. [Image attached] [Tweet]. X.

Congressional Budget Office. (2024, January 18). The Demographic Outlook: 2024 to 2054.

U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. (2024, March 29). Personal Income by State.

Sløk, Torsten. (2024, February29). Appollo Academy. States with Highest Population Growth.

Grant, Peter, “Blackstone’s Beleaguered Real-Estate Fund Stems Exodus.” Wall Street Journal, April 23, 2024,

Yun, L. (2024, April 23). Monthly update on job additions by state shows high performance in Rocky Mountain states and most southern states.  [Image attached] [Post]. LinkedIn.

CBRE. (Q3 2023). Slight Apartment Oversupply Expected in 2024. CBRE.