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The Real Deal Los Angeles

LA ties New York as top U.S. city for foreign investment

Concerns remain that NYC is at a later stage of the cycle than other global cities
By Dennis Lynch | January 08, 2018 11:41AM

New York City, London, and Los Angeles skyline (Credit: Pixabay, Pxhere)

New York is no longer the unquestioned king when it comes to attracting foreign capital for real estate. In 2017 — for the first time ever — Los Angeles tied the Big Apple as the top U.S. destination for overseas money, according to a poll of major foreign investors.

The 26th annual survey of the Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate (AFIRE) saw L.A. tie the East Coast powerhouse after New York’s seven years at the top of the rankings. Los Angeles sat at number five just three years ago, but reached second place in 2016. Seattle, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco round out the top five. h

“This was more of a dispersal of the votes and a broadening of the investors’ interests into other cities in the U.S.” than a reflection on New York, association CEO Jim Fetgatter told Bloomberg. Los Angeles was particularly attractive to warehouse and industrial investors from overseas.

“With the growth of online shopping, foreign investors continue to rank industrial/logistics properties as their No. 1 investment opportunity,” Fetgatter said of the LA market.

The association again ranked the U.S. as the most stable and secure country for real estate and the best opportunity for capital appreciation, but London knocked New York out to claim the title as top individual global city. London jumped from number three to number one, indicating that concerns among investors over Brexit are softening. Berlin, Germany came in at number three, Los Angeles kept its spot at number four, and Frankfurt, Germany jumped all the way from number 13 to number five.

There are some concerns that New York may be in a later stage of the cycle than other global cities. Among the world’s 30 most active commercial markets tracked by Real Capital Analytics, only Paris and Denver saw transaction volumes drop further than in the New York metropolitan area during the first half of 2017. Volumes plummeted 40 percent in that period, while Los Angeles and London both remained within a few percentage points of where they were in the first half of 2016.

AFIRE estimates its members have around $2 trillion in global real estate assets under management.