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New York still the apple of foreign property investors' eyes -survey
December 15, 2016 / 7:56 PM / a year ago

New York still the apple of foreign property investors' eyes -survey

NEW YORK, Dec 15 (Reuters) - New York City remained the top choice this year among foreign investors in commercial real estate while Washington fell to No. 15 as a global destination and dropped from the top five U.S. cities for the first time, a survey showed on Thursday.

New York is in its seventh year as the prime U.S. city for foreign investors, and its third year as the top global city, members of the Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate (AFIRE) indicated in the survey.

In the decade up to 2012, Washington never fell below No. 4 among global cities surveyed and was the top choice in 2003, 2004 and 2008, the association said.

The best Washington has mustered since 2013 was eighth place, according to AFIRE, whose members are among the largest international property investors in the world with an estimated $2 trillion in real estate assets under management.

Washington is a good place to invest because the government provides a stable environment, said James Fetgatter, AFIRE’s chief executive. But few investment opportunities, high valuations and lack of a tech industry - a major jobs driver - has hindered the U.S. capital, he said.

Germany was second behind the United States among countries that provide the most stable and secure real estate investments, according to the survey. Among developing countries considered for real estate acquisitions, China was first, followed by Mexico and Brazil.

Ninety-five percent of respondents to the survey conducted in the fourth quarter of 2016 by the James A. Graaskamp Center for Real Estate at the Wisconsin School of Business, said they would increase or maintain their level of U.S. investment.

But pessimism about the U.S. market increased to one-third from 8 percent last year. A new U.S. administration and rising interest rates have stirred investor caution, Fetgatter said.

Industrial real estate, sparked by the demand for warehouses as online shopping booms, was the top choice of property types, followed by multifamily apartments, AFIRE said.

About 100 AFIRE members took the survey, Fetgatter said. The association has about 200 members, equally divided between foreign and U.S. entities. U.S. companies did not respond to certain questions about investing in the United States, he said.

Reporting by Herbert Lash; Editing by Alan Crosby

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