Canada and China reign in NYC, but Singapore dominates overall real estate investment in US

Top 5 countries invested more than $17B in Q1: NGKF

Manhattan Foreign Investment
(Click to enlarge | Credit: NGKF Capital Markets)

And the award for biggest foreign investor in U.S. real estate in 2015 goes to … Singapore.

While Chinese and Canadian investors dominate in Manhattan, the East Asian city-state leads the pack nationwide. By a fair distance. 

Singaporean firms invested $8.1 billion in the U.S. property market in the first quarter of 2015, according to a new report by NGKF Capital Markets– well ahead of Canada’s $3.6 billion and China’s $2.5 billion. Australian and German investors completed the top five with $1.7 billion and $1.4 billion spent, respectively. Together, the top five invested more than $17 billion.

Manhattan was, by far, the country’s most popular market in the first quarter, accounting for 31.6 percent of all foreign capital investment in real estate.

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Singapore’s rise to the top is stunning considering that it didn’t even make the top five in 2014, when Canada led the ranking ahead of China and Norway. Its surprising surge put overall foreign investment on pace for a record year. The $24.7 billion spent in the first quarter alone is more than half of last year’s total of  $46.8 billion and around double the amount foreign firms spent on U.S. real estate in all of 2010.

But while Singaporean firms made a splash nationwide, they are fringe players in Manhattan. Chinese firms were the most prominent investors here , accounting for 26.6 percent of all foreign investment over the past 12 months. Canadian firms were not far behind with 25.6 percent, well ahead of Norway’s 12.3 percent and Brazil’s 5.8 percent.

Foreign investors have scooped up a number of trophy skyscrapers over the past year. In January, the Canadian investment firm Ivanhoe Cambridge bought the office building 3 Bryant Park from Blackstone for $2.2 billion. And in February, China’s Anbang Insurance Group closed on the blockbuster purchase of the Waldorf Astoria for $1.95 billion.

Earlier today, The Real Deal reported that sovereign wealth funds are on track to pump in record levels of investment into the New York real estate market.