Foreign Investors Hold $230B In U.S. Commercial Real Estate

Nearly 200 members of the Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate (AFIRE) responded to an annual survey conducted in the fourth quarter of 2007 by saying that they collectively owned $230 billion in U.S. commercial real estate. The survey also concluded that U.S. property assets are by a wide margin the most sought after in the world by foreign investors. “Collectively, AFIRE members hold a total of $700 billion in commercial real estate in their own countries and around the world,” James Fetgatter, chief executive of the Washington, D.C.-based AFIRE, told CPN today. “So the $230 billion in U.S. property represents almost one third of their total holdings.” The survey also reported that New York City and Washington, D.C., ranked first and second on the list of the top five global cities for foreign investors. London tied with Washington, D.C., for the second spot, with Paris and Shanghai holding down the fourth and fifth spots. Fetgatter (pictured) also noted that China was voted–for the second time in three years–as the country offering the second best change for capital appreciation after the United States. The gap has been shrinking between the U.S. and China. It has narrowed from 27 percentage points in 2005 to fewer than 5 percent today. “Our survey indicates interest in China and Asia among foreign investors,” Fetgatter continued. “But keep in mind that 90 percent of the holdings in the portfolios of these investors are located in North America, Europe and the United Kingdom. China is obviously very interesting to property investments, but they have only just started to invest in China. They have been investing in North America, Europe and the U.K. for a long, long time.”