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Economists Weigh In: US Real Estate Investments Remain Strong Post-Brexit


Economists agree the US commercial real estate market remains strong following the shock of the Brexit vote.  

Investment in London—which used to be the leading market for CRE investment—took a huge hit this year, and the city brought in its lowest numbers for the first half of the year since 2011—down 39% to $13.2B, according to a recent JLL report. But London’s US rival, New York, nearly doubled those levels with $24.4B the first half of 2016—the largest city for real estate investments in the world in that  time frame.

Though global real estate investment was down 10% as a whole—totaling $292B the first half of the year—cautious investors continue to turn to the US market post-Brexit for safe investments, and experts project property investment in the UK will continue to see minimal decline.

Here’s what two top economists had to say regarding global property investment following the Brexit referendum.

Jack Kern, Yardi director of research and publications


Yardi Director of Research and Publications Jack Kern

“Brexit is an economic shock and it should not be misconstrued as one single event, but rather a series of actions that will affect the UK along with trading partners for many years to come.

The levels of investment in both the United States and the European Union remain strong but are not likely to make any new records. Redemption for property funds are more of an issue in the UK than the US, but that could change depending on interest rate variation.

There has been a lot of discussion on how property activity is pretty strong right now. In the US, many firms have taken the position of being net sellers, which is generating activity. In our view, taking out the routine activity and examining the institutional perspective it appears new acquisitions are waning.

Contrast that in China and the rest of Europe, the US still looks pretty positive. China has seen a glut that is so severe it caused its Central Bank to change policies while the rest of Europe has some selective easing and even vulture activities in certain places. All in all, property acquisitions continue as capital seeks yield globally.”

Robert Bach, NGKF Americas director of research

NGKF director of research — Americas Bob Bach

“Following back-to-back historic years, investor demand for quality space in the US remains strong despite slowing volume overall. International capital continues to flow into the US because cap rates offer significant spreads to global bond yields, which have turned negative in some countries.

The UK will likely see a capital investment decline in the short term, potentially leading to additional post-Brexit activity in the US. Nonetheless, there is a 'United Nations' roster of investors circling the UK, looking for bargains.

The UK economy is on shaky ground post-Brexit, but the political outlook has stabilized. The EU economy and markets look to be mostly unaffected by Brexit.”