Foreign Investors Survey: International Investors Are Very Interested in Investing in United States Commercial Real Estate

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This week, the Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate (AFIRE) released its yearly review of international investment trends: for several years now, AFIRE has compiled a year-end survey of foreign investors to learn what spots around the world they are considering as top investment opportunities.

1. International Investor Survey by Official Voice of Foreign Real Estate Industry in U.S.

Why should we bother with AFIRE's survey? Well, for one thing AFIRE, to quote from its web site, is:

the official voice of the foreign real estate industry in the United States and the pre-eminent global real estate organization, the Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate (AFIRE) represents the interests of nearly 200 investing organizations from 21 different countries. AFIRE is a not-for-profit association of international real estate investors with headquarters in Washington, DC. The organization was founded in 1988 with strong support from Dutch pension funds and German investment firms now constitute the largest nationality of investors. While inbound investment into the US remains our members’ common bond, their portfolios have become increasingly global in scope.

Representing the “who’s who” in the global real estate investment industry, AFIRE membership is exclusive to principals and senior executives. AFIRE provides a platform for top investors to communicate through global meetings in the US, Europe, and key cities around the world. From legislation and tax regulations to informative publications and resources, AFIRE covers the hottest topics to ensure that the foreign investor is as informed as the domestic investor.

2. AFIRE Survey Finds Most International Investors Believe U.S. is Hot Spot for Internatonal Investment

Here in January 2013, the good news for U.S. real estate markets is that this year, for the first time (and AFIRE has been doing this for 11 years now), the AFIRE survey finds 4 out of 5 of the top investment cities, according to international investors, were located in the United States. For foreign investors, apparently, the United States looks to offer lots of real estate bargains in the coming year.

In fact, 81% of those surveyed reported that they are looking to buy or expand their American real estate holdings in 2013. That's huge, but the bigger question for those here in the United States, is where are these foreign investors planning on spending their money?

According to the AFIRE survey, the top five cities garnering international interest are New York City, London, San Francisco, Washington D.C., and Houston.

That's right: four of the top five cities on their Target List are in the United States. (One does wonder why Miami isn't here, right?)

The United States was also found to be number one in "Countries Providing the Most Stable and Secure Real Estate Investments," and "Countries Providing the Best Opportunity for Capital Appreciation."

What Kinds of Real Estate Investment are International Investors Most Interested in Finding?

As for what kinds of investment these foreign investors are considering in 2013, the AFIRE survey found the following as the five most popular foreign real estate investments:

  1. Multi-family
  2. Industrial
  3. Retail
  4. Office
  5. Hotel.