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Biden's Election Day Win Has Revived Foreign Investment Interest In The U.S.

President-elect Joe Biden

While the U.S. commercial real estate industry's reaction to Joe Biden's presumed victory in the presidential election has been based on his potential policies, another group is excited just to see President Donald Trump go.

Foreign investors have long been an important source of capital in major coastal markets like New York, Miami and Los Angeles, especially for expensive, luxury projects like New York's Hudson Yards. But in the past couple of years, funding has dried as concern has grown about new restrictions on the EB-5 visa program, coronavirus-related uncertainty and Trump's hostile rhetoric and policies toward immigration.

"[A Biden presidency] would bring back stability from an international standpoint," Time Equities CEO Francis Greenburger told Bisnow.

"Investment activity from other countries in Europe, Asia, South America used to be a big ingredient in what’s going on, and that has dried up," he said. "The current administration not being supportive of immigration is not an invitation to investors to buy into real estate here. So a more open administration could greatly benefit markets dependent on international investment."

Advisory firms focused on connecting foreign investors interested in EB-5 visas with qualified real estate deals have noticed an immediate spike in interest, Axios reports. Interest has been elevated across multiple continents and multiple asset classes, from high-end residences for the children of wealthy families to commercial projects. Even hotels and retail properties have been subject to increased foreign interest in the past week, money managers told Axios.

Perhaps the biggest change in foreign investment behavior could come from majority-Muslim countries, which had been frozen out of or discouraged from many kinds of immigration and cross-border investment since Trump's ban on immigration from seven countries in 2017. Countries like Kenya and Egypt, which don't face the same multiyear backlog of applicants as China and Vietnam, could also become major players in the EB-5 market, Axios reports.