U.S. is top 2012 property investment pick
By Ilaina Jonas
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The United States will remain the top choice of most global commercial real estate investors in 2012, but the country has lost ground to Brazil which ranked No. 2 this year, according to a survey released Sunday.
While the United States offers the most stable and secure option in commercial real estate, investors said improvement in rent and occupancy growth and the repeal of a 1980 foreign investment tax would have the strongest impact on their investment decisions, according to the 20th annual survey of Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate (AFIRE) members.
For about the past year or so, investors in U.S. commercial real estate have focused on gateway cities such as New York, Washington, Boston, San Francisco and Los Angeles, driving prices up and yields down.
Meanwhile commercial property in Brazil, with its bubbling economy and safer investment environment, has become a hot spot for global investors. Sao Paulo, Brazil's largest city, jumped to the fourth best city for real estate investment dollars in 2012, up from 26th place last year.
The United States is still very desirable and was second behind the UK in attracting cross border investment in 2011, according to Real Capital Analytics preliminary figures.
"The negative is it doesn't promise a whole lot of capital appreciation because the prime markets are already fully priced," AFIRE Chief Executive Officer James Fetgatter said. "By no means will Brazil replace the U.S., at least not in the forseeable future. Brazil is considered now a much safer place to invest and a place where you can get capital appreciation and good yield."
AFIRE'S survey respondents hold more than $874 billion of real estate globally, including $338 billion in the United States.
Sixty 60 percent of respondents said they plan to increase their investment in U.S. real estate in 2012, down from a record 72 percent last year, according to the 20th annual survey. Continued...