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Foreign investments in the U.S. may get easier


Published: Sep 19, 2013

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In recent months, New York City has surged ahead of its biggest global rivals, London and Tokyo, with more dollar volume in real estate investment than any other city in the world.

And it may soon get even easier for foreign investors to buy a piece of the Big Apple: the proposed Real Estate Investment and Jobs Act of 2013, which is currently being pushed by several members of Congress including Queens’ Congressman Joseph Crowley, would allow a more lenient tax policy for foreign entities investing in the U.S.

But while foreign entities have been investing in New York City real estate for years, they’ve changed their strategy significantly since the economic crisis. Industry experts say there has been a serious shift in the major sources of international capital, as well as a change in investors’ strategies for parking money in New York City.

For instance, players from Asia — both private individuals and institutional funds — have increased their investment in Manhattan property, from under $200 million in 2010 to $1.36 billion in 2012, according to RCA’s data. During that same period, investors from Australia and certain areas of Europe, particularly Germany, loosened their grip on the Manhattan market.

International investors have also recently started making more direct investments in Manhattan real estate — purchasing a stake in a building, or providing equity or debt financing to a local developer, rather than investing in a real estate investment trust or a large fund like the Blackstone Group.

There are more direct investments because the investors want to have more control over their decisions.

Aside from Asia, there are other parts of the world that are very active in New York City right now. Norway, for example, is not a part of the European Union, and its sovereign wealth fund, the Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global, has been chasing New York deals as part of a recent push into the U.S.

This spring, Norges Bank Investment Management, the fund’s manager, snapped up two Manhattan office properties — 470 Park Avenue South and 475 Fifth Avenue — for $660 million in a joint venture with the pension fund TIAA-CREF, in a deal that also included properties in Boston and Washington D.C.

Meanwhile, foreign investments in Miami continue to stay hot. Brazilians are again the biggest group of overseas buyers searching for second homes and investment properties in Miami, according to the latest data from the Miami Association of Realtors.

Brazil topped the list of countries, second only to the U.S., that conducted searches on the association’s website in June, after briefly being overtaken by France.

This is despite the weakening of the Brazilian currency in recent months and other Latin American nationalities are also keen on property in Miami with Argentina, Colombia and Venezuela coming next, followed by Russia, Malaysia, France, Spain and the United Kingdom.

This is it for today, dear readers. I am available to answer your questions and provide you with more information on New York City, Miami and U.S. real estate.


• Riccardo Ravasini is a real estate maven and an active agent in New York and Miami. He grew up in Italy where he studied Business and Finance at Bocconi University in Milan before moving to the U.S. He enjoys assisting people in the search for the perfect rental apartment as well as international buyers looking for smart investment properties. Contact him at +1-917-214-2509 or rava@ravarealty.com.


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