Foreign Buyers Come Back Strong

Learn who's investing in U.S. commercial real estate and why.

March 15, 2013

A soft dollar and stable—if not improving—commercial property fundamentals continue to lure foreign investors to the U.S real estate market, albeit at a slower rate than in 2011. Cross-border purchases of U.S. properties rose around 15 percent between 2011 and 2012, after seeing a 96 percent the previous year, says Dan Fasulo, managing director of Real Capital Analytics in New York City. “Sales of properties valued at $2.5 million or more totaled $28.9 billion in 2012,” he says.

Canadians, whose economy largely missed the recent downturn, were again the largest offshore buyers, accounting for about one-third of all purchases ($9.1 billion) in 2012 according to RCA data. Other top buyers in 2012 included Middle Eastern countries ($3.0 billion), Switzerland ($2.8 billion), Germany ($2.6 billion) and Singapore ($2.4 billion).  As in the past, cross border buyers focused on major markets like New York City, Boston, Chicago, and D.C., although Miami, Houston, and Denver also saw greater buying activity.

Mariwyn Evans

Mariwyn Evans is a former REALTOR® Magazine writer and editor, covering both residential brokerage and commercial real estate topics.

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