Traditionally, investors from around the world have looked to the U.S. as a safe haven for commercial real estate investment. Investors from Germany, Holland, Israel and other Middle Eastern countries, Canada, Japan, and China have been historically active. Currently investors from many of these locales who are in strong financial shape are looking at the U.S. based on the belief that the timing is again right for them to invest.
Some of these investors held off investing in the U.S. from 2004 to 2007, as commercial real estate here became more overheated. During this time some foreign investors felt that other areas of the world offered greater upside potential and less downside risk than the U.S., including areas that were considered to be emerging markets in Eastern Europe, India, China, and Brazil. Now the tide has turned: Many emerging-market economies have been shaken by the worldwide financial crisis, and U.S. prices have come down to what some investors view as historic levels, creating capital appreciation opportunities that only come around once in a generation.