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Survey Shows International Investors Favor U.S. Commercial Real Estate

02/11/2013 | By Carisa Chappell

Markets in the United States dominate as the top global cities for real estate investment, according to participants in the Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate’s (AFIRE) annual survey.

Jim Fetgatter, chief executive of AFIRE, spoke to REIT.com about the U.S. being the preferred investment market and other findings from the recently released survey. The top global cities for investment included New York, London, San Francisco, Washington and Houston.

“I think [non-U.S. investors] have some faith that the U.S. is coming out of the recession. The recovery may be slow, but I think they feel like it’s a definite recovery and we're not falling back down into another recession,” ] Fetgatter said.

Additionally, he said investors don't have a lot of other good alternatives for stable, secure investments.

In terms of other global trends noted in this year's survey, Fetgatter said there’s renewed interest in Turkey and less interest in China.

Turkey made the list this year as one of the countries providing the most stable and secure real estate investments, joining the U.S., Canada, Germany and Australia. The country was also ranked third as among the top emerging countries for investment dollars.

“It appears that there is some shifting of [investors’] interest, maybe not totally away from China, but certainly they don’t have high expectations of China,” he said. “There’s an increased interest in Turkey that’s come back again after it’s been dormant for a while.”

Fetgatter attributed the renewed interest to Turkey being the logical place for companies looking to establish a foothold in the Middle East.

Fetgatter also said a growing sense of optimism among non-U.S. real estate investors stood out among the survey results. He also noted that the multifamily sector stood as the investment target of choice.

“This is not a different trend, but the continuation of a trend. Multifamly is still the top product for them, again for the fifth year in a row,” Fetgatter said.

He also pointed out that investors reported more interest in San Francisco and less in Washington.