DC cracks top 5 in US for foreign real estate investors

WASHINGTON — Foreign real estate investors continue to favor the D.C. metro region although the nation’s capital fell sharply when ranked against large cities internationally, according to an annual list from D.C.-based Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate.

Washington ranks No. 4 among U.S. cities for foreign investment this year, up from No. 6 last year. New York and Los Angeles tied for the top spot in this year’s survey of association members. Seattle was No. 3. And San Francisco ranked just behind Washington, at No. 5.

Globally, New York slipped from No. 1 in last year’s survey to No. 2 this year. London grabs this year’s top spot, up from third place last year. Berlin, Los Angeles and Frankfurt round out the top five globally.

Washington continued to slide among global cities, falling from 15th place last year to 25th place in this year’s survey.

London’s ascent to No. 1 on this year’s list comes even amid anxiety about Brexit.

“London has a number of attributes as a location for investment, including a stable rule of law, transparency, and use of the English language. In addition, a favorable time zone for international business, deep labor pool, and cultural attributes also help,” said Edward Casal, chairman of the Association of Foreign Investors.

Office buildings are not at the top of the list for the types of properties foreign investors want to buy. Industrial properties are.

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

“The cargo coming into the Port of Los Angeles represents 43 percent of all cargo coming into the United States. Respondents also say online shopping is likely to have the biggest effect on real estate over the next five years.”

The top five property types listed by members are, in order: industrial, multifamily, office, hotel and retail.

The Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate’s members are among the largest international institutional real estate investors in the world, with an estimated $2 trillion or more in real estate assets under management globally.

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Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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