After being hit hard during the recession with high unemployment and the busted housing bubble, the western part of the U.S. is now rebounding and leading the nation in employment growth.
A 36 percent return on your money. That is what some investors in Phoenix saw who jumped in to buy a house.
In fact, investors there now own over 200,000 homes, and they're not flipping, but renting them out.
But it's not just housing, or Arizona driving the rebound. The economic rebound is happening in much of the west.
"We've definitely turned a corner. In October of 2011 we definitely bottomed out and we've definitely been going up," says David Newcombe, Newcombe Real Estate.
Areas of the western U.S. hit hardest by the housing bust are now booming -- with home prices up more than 23 percent in Phoenix, 15 percent in Las Vegas and 12 percent in Los Angeles.
"The west has rebounded quicker than the east because we're non-judicial. So the foreclosures went through much more quickly, while they're still fighting foreclosures on the east side of the country," says Newcombe.
"The deeper the hole in some sense, the faster the trajectory of coming out," explains Dennis Hoffman, ASU WP Carey School of Business.
Unemployment is also falling. Nevada's is down 3 percent since last year, followed by Hawaii, Arizona and California.
The rebound is not just construction. More than 400,000 job openings in the 13 western states are fueled by the technology and software sector.
GPS Insight in Scottsdale helps 1,200 customers track commercial and government fleets.
"We've had some crazy growth, 40 percent growth last year and we doubled our sales year over year," says Robert Donat, GPS Insight CEO.
And success in one sector translates to more jobs in others.
"You get the great jobs in, you export products out, money comes into the region, that money swirls around and you take care of all those other pursuits that people find employment in," says Hoffman.
Confidence, rising incomes, tech jobs and demography are all helping drive the recovery. According to a research unit at JP Morgan Chase, Utah, Washington and Colorado are leading, but Texas and California will add one million jobs each in the next five years.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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