Investors from foreign countries make up just a slice of commercial real estate acquisitions in the United States. But the mammoth prices they pay for properties in some of the glitziest gateway cities may explain why they continue to grab a disproportionate share of the industry’s attention.
Foreign buyers’ portion of U.S. investment sales in the two-year period ending May 31, 2017, totaled $168.32 billion — 15.5 percent of all deals, an analysis of Real Capital Analytics data by The Real Deal shows.
And while they’re not spending as wildly as they did a year and a half ago, investors from the 12 countries that poured the most money into commercial properties in the States spent a combined $56.69 billion in New York City, Los Angeles County and South Florida over the two-year period.
It may come as little surprise to those in the business that China, Qatar and Canada were among the biggest spenders in the three gateway markets. But even smaller countries, including Spain and France, managed to crack the $1 billion mark.
China, which topped the list with $13.05 billion in acquisitions, dominated in New York. The biggest deal in the city, however, went to the Qatari Investment Fund, which bought a 44 percent stake in an $8.58 billion joint venture with Brookfield Property Partners to develop the Manhattan West megaproject on the Far West Side.
In Los Angeles County, Singapore edged out Qatar as the biggest foreign buyer, thanks in part to the 40 percent stake it bought in a $2.26 billion portfolio of five malls, including Lakewood Center and Los Cerritos Center, with Macerich.
And in South Florida’s Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, Spain reigned supreme with just over $1 billion worth of deals. Ponte Gadea, the real estate arm of Zara clothing founder Amancio Ortega’s empire, bought a stretch of retail properties on Lincoln Road for $370 million.