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.