WASHINGTON DC – Foreigners are once again putting more money in American real estate.

Foreign investment in U.S. real estate during 2003 rose 59 percent over 2002 levels, according to an annual survey released Wednesday (Feb. 18, 2004) by the Washington, D.C.-based Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate (AFIRE). Importantly, the organization also anticipates foreign investments to increase by another 11.9 percent this year.

The top five US cities on foreign investors’ shopping lists are Washington, DC, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago, the survey says.

Founded in 1988, AFIRE currently has 157 members representing 17 countries. Its 12th annual survey was conducted among members who collectively have nearly $300 billion invested globally, with about half of that invested in the U.S.

Sixty percent of those surveyed said they regard the US as the most stable and secure country for real estate investment. An overwhelming majority of survey respondents — 94 percent — also said they found it “somewhat” or “very” difficult to find attractive US opportunities in 2003, as compared to 78 percent in 2002. “There’s no question that, because of the current competition, deals are much harder to come by,” newly elected AFIRE Chairman Erwin F. Stouthamer acknowledged.

High on investors’ shopping lists are retail properties, the survey shows. Just one year ago, retail ranked fourth among investors’ preferences. Multi-family, which ranked as the most attractive investment in 2002, fell into second position. Hotels, which had consistently ranked in last place since the mid ’90s, moved into third position.


This article was originally published at Joe Zlomek’s Docket