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Robust growth in global real estate investment as US dominates

Despite increased stock market volatility, uncertainty of events in China and the Middle East as well as the approaching return of US monetary tightening, real estate investors have delivered another robust year of rising volumes and values, according to annual research out today from Cushman & Wakefield. 

The ‘Winning in Growth Cities’ report - an annual survey of global commercial real estate investment activity which lists the most successful cities in attracting capital - launched today at Expo Real in Munich. The report shows that global property investment rose 16% in the year to June (US$942.8bn) and now stands at its highest since 2008, just 13% below the pre-crisis peak. 

However, the report also reveals that below the strong global performance, the market is far from uniform with results varying across regions and apparently established capital flows starting to change. Risk tolerances which have steadily loosened as the global economic recovery has taken hold over the past two years have reverted to type in the face of increased uncertainty in parts of the world. 

This has resulted in a stronger flow back towards the most liquid and accessible markets. The report shows that top 25 gateway cities in terms of real estate investment saw their market share rise from 51% to 53%.  
In number one spot, New York increased its market share, driven by foreign buying in particular. London was again the second largest market overall but top for foreign buyers, while Tokyo, Los Angeles and San Francisco made up the rest of the top 5 - unchanged on last year. 
 
Report author David Hutchings, Head of EMEA Investment Strategy, Cushman & Wakefield, said: “Despite the strong overall growth and the major gateway cities remaining largely unmoved, change is more evident at regional levels. 
“Europe is still a magnet for capital from all regions but North America has actually been the fastest growing target for foreign capital – a fact reflected in the dominance of US cities in this year’s report.  Fourteen of the top 25 cities are in the USA, while Germany, the second most popular country by number, has just three cities making the list. Investment into these US cities grew by 32% compared to just 7% growth for non-US cities in the top 25.  

“Outward investment by US players is also dominating global capital flows, accounting for 42% of all foreign investment between regions in the past year and growing by 25%. Asian investment globally comes in at number two, with a 25% market share, as investors’ search for greater global diversification