Canadians top the list of Manhattan real estate buyers

While it has always been a desirable location, recent activity seems to show a reinvigoration of Canadian investors’ appetite for property in Manhattan.

According to data from Real Capital Analytics, Canadians bought US$3.85 billion of property in America’s largest city, more than any other foreign buyer.

That’s double the $1.97 billion bought in 2014 and more than the $2 billion in acquisitions in 2007.

Despite the high prices of Manhattan properties, “there’s an understanding that there’s always somebody who wants to buy an asset in New York,” Real Capital’s Joe Costello told Bloomberg.

The largest investors include the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec and the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System, who together have $581 billion in New York properties under management.

Capital pools from other countries, including Norway's sovereign-wealth fund, which owns $4.9 billion US in property, and the Qatar Investment Authority, which owns $4.5 billion US, have also bought into real estate, but not on the same scale as Canada.

Canadian property companies and pension funds have been the largest buyers of Manhattan property in the past decade, followed by United Arab Emirates, China and Israel.

Canadian companies, including Oxford Properties Group and Brookfield Property Partners, are also involved in developing Manhattan properties.

Oxford, a unit of OMERS, is part of a group behind an ambitious redevelopment on the New York waterfront called Hudson Yards that could ultimately create 17 million square feet of commercial and residential space.

Brookfield is building an office complex near the 9/11 memorial called Manhattan West.

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