Majority of investors set to increase U.S. investment in 2012

A survey by Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate (AFIRE) found 60% of respondents, with a combined $338 billion invested in the U.S., plan to increase their investment in the country this year.


Low home prices and a view that the economy will eventually show some recovery were among the key reasons, said Ray Withers, chief executive with Property Frontiers, a property investment agency.

“In real terms, property prices in the USA today are back to where they were around the turn of the millennium, with prices in some states up to 70% below their 2006 peak and around 50% of current rebuild cost,” said Withers.

He cited the credit freeze for the property price crash in the U.S., but noted investors who have gotten in are finding the rental market “booming.” Recent figures have shown rental demand up, including a drop in the national apartment vacancy rate from 5.6% to 5.2% between the third and fourth quarters of 2011, according to Reis.

“Properties even in good areas can be acquired at huge discounts if you have the right contacts, but this window of opportunity wont’ be open forever,” said Withers. “Increasing investor activity within the foreclosure market is already starting to stabilize prices, and in some instances, even rise.”

On a national scale, however, prices have shown generally no upward movement recently in most major cities.

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