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Thoughts on Build-to-Rent in St. George, Utah

build-to-rent podcast market research utah Sep 21, 2021

For a long time, we have compared multifamily investing in St George, Utah to what it's like owning rentals in Las Vegas. While their markets have seemed tempting for a long time, a questionable job market has kept us away.

The rise of remote work in these areas may be starting to change our minds. We discussed what it's like to own apartments in St George in a recent episode of our podcast which you can watch the full episode, here:

Steve Olson

Every time I go to St. George, a city that's about two hours northeast of Las Vegas on I-15. If you live in Utah, you totally know it. In fact, in the western US, you increasingly know about St. George.

It's a vacation town. That's what it's always been. There are a lot of good people there and some great businesses, but it's kind of the gateway to a lot of National and State Parks. A very scenic place.

We get asked all the time, by locals here. When are you going to build in St. George? When are you going to build apartments or for plexes? Or homes? In St. George, I love it. Now, I think that they're usually asking that from the point of view of I want to have a vacation house that I can go to and maybe Airbnb it and do whatever I want. That's usually why they're asking. And I get it.

We've in the past felt the same way about St. George, that we have Las Vegas. Although because this is becoming less true and this is a good example of what we're going to talk about today.

My position was, and I said this to Sherida, Chase, and Jesse, who works with us. And because Chase and Jesse are from St. George. The thing that makes me nervous about St. George is it's a bunch of old retired people, construction workers, some doctors, and who else. Right? That was what I thought. You can compare that to Vegas if we look at the mortgage meltdown of 2008. Las Vegas is on the shortlist of places that were really, really hammered. And so was St. George, Utah.

St. George really took it on the chin during the mortgage meltdown of 2008. So I said to chase and share, like what's the big deal? What am I missing here? Should we be looking at St. George? And I don't know, I'm not saying that we officially are but it's something that we felt was worth discussing on the show today.

Chase Leavitt

St. George, that's where I'm from. We looked at St. George, about four or five years ago? It's a great example because it's that city where there could be opportunities that some people might not be going in, and some people are actually going to. They see other things that really attract their attention.

One of the things that we like about St. George that I've heard is their vacancy rates are so low, it's like 0-1%. But then you bring up the point, where are the jobs at? Is it just teachers' schools? Where are they? Where are they coming from?

We're talking about remote work, and you have a nice area like St. George. And there are probably 100 different cities that are similar like that, that's a little bit smaller, trying to figure out the employment where the employments coming from. But if you look at St. George, you look at how beautiful it is, and the opportunity from it from an outdoors perspective, to be able to get out and enjoy life more.

And so that's why when we're talking about being able to work from home and working remotely, it's those places that are probably pretty dang attractive right now. And so when it comes to investing, whether it's a long term, vacation, rental, whatever the case is, I think it's those markets that are still staying hot, or maybe even more popular right now.

Steve Olson

In the past, you've looked at I want to build here, I want to move into this market. What are the big companies, who's hiring, where are these jobs? What's the employment base?

We're saying that might not be enough anymore...

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