A good sign

Posted by Leslie Bauer on Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009 at 3:35pm.

Foreign investors in real estate expect to spend much more this year than they did in 2008, according to an annual survey by the Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate.

After two years, D.C. regained its No. 1 status as the top global city for foreign investment in properties, followed by London and New York.

Compared to transactions completed by October 2008, equity investors plan to increase investment activity by 40 percent globally and by 73 percent in the U.S.

The D.C.-based association’s near-200 members from 21 countries -- who hold approximately $371 billion of real estate in the U.S. -- responded to the survey in the last quarter of 2008.

The U.S. provides the best opportunity for capital appreciation, according to 37 percent of the group’s members. With 16 percent of the votes, Brazil jumped 10 places to No. 2 to bump China down to No. 3.

The U.S. also gives the most stable and secure real estate investments, according to 53 percent of those surveyed.

“Our investor members have expressed a growing confidence and interest in U.S. real estate,” said James Fetgatter, chief executive of the 21-year-old association, in a statement. “Their investment plans for 2009 for the U.S. resemble the flight to quality that is creating the demand for U.S. Treasuries.”

D.C., which currently has the lowest unemployment rate in the country at 4.1 percent, was the most attractive U.S. city for investment dollars. New York (No. 2), San Francisco (No. 3), Los Angeles (No. 4) and Houston (No. 5) rounded out the top five.

Respondents said the multi-family sector was the preferred property type for their investments, followed by office, industrial, retail, and hotel properties. For the last two years, office properties came ahead of the multi-family sector.

For the fist time, the survey asked to what extent a building’s “green” attributes influenced the decision to buy a property, to which 11 percent said “significantly so,” and 60 percent said “somewhat so.”


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