commercial real estate
investment, according to a recent survey released on January 4.
An annual members’ survey conducted by the Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate (AFIRE) put Seattle and Boston (tied) fifth in its list of preferred cities. Seattle was last placed in the top five in 2006.
Industry players and observers agreed that Seattle’s impressive growth (one of the fastest in the country) plays a large part in attracting younger generations, especially Asian investors. The survey also found that multi-family apartments and industrial facilities are the hottest selling property types in the top cities, with retail, office, and hotel properties placing third to fifth.
For instance, last year saw the purchase of the Columbia Center – the area’s tallest building – by Hong Kong’s Gaw Capital Partners for $711 million.
Union Investment, one of Germany’s largest real estate fund managers, also bought two buildings in South Lake Union for $299 million. According to company executive Martin Bruhl, the acquisition of the properties (which were formerly occupied by electronic commerce giant Amazon) represents Union Investment’s willingness to invest in the relatively tranquil and fertile environment that Seattle offers.
These developments point to greater competition between domestic buyers and foreigners in Seattle and other top locales. This is due in no small part to a prevailing view among foreign investors (approximately 60 percent of the survey respondents) that globally, the U.S. provides the most opportunities for stable, secure, and appreciating real estate investments.
The AFIRE survey results concluded that because of the solid economic and real estate fundamentals in the U.S., these trends are expected to remain and even improve for the foreseeable future.
After a decade of slowdown, Seattle has reclaimed its title as a leading choice for foreign