Commercial real estate is attracting the attention –and capital- of investors from all over the globe. Interest in the U.S. commercial market is driving up prices in major cities and creating intense competition, as well as capital for new development, something that is not necessarily forthcoming from U.S. banks. Money is coming from high net worth individuals and pension funds, and perhaps most significantly from Sovereign Wealth Funds.
These government treasury funds manage a staggering amount of capital globally. Their value is over $6 trillion, and 60% of those funds are invested in real estate. Of the $8.7 billion that Asian investors spent on commercial real estate in the first quarter of last year, the U.S. market took in 40%.
Many of these large investors favor deals involving multiple properties, since the discount that comes with buying additional properties offers an opportunity for greater returns. Foreign investors have participated in major NYC development projects over the last few years, including the massive tower at 55 Hudson Yards, primarily funded by Japanese firm Mitsui Fudosan.
With about a quarter of all commercial transactions in NYC involving foreign capital, we might well ask: what is behind this intense international participation in our CRE market? Various factors draw foreign investors to U.S. commercial real estate, but chief among them are these three.