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Why Foreign Investors Still Want Seattle Property

Seattle's been attractive to property buyers from around the world in recent years, but in our politically uncertain times, will that continue to be true? Probably yes, according to speakers at our Seattle Forecast 2017 event.


Metzler Real Estate president and CEO Don Wise said he recently attended an AFIRE (Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate) conference in New York, and this topic was naturally part of the conversation.

"I don't think the DC political climate will affect foreign investment in the U.S. or in Seattle, at least in the near term," Wise said. "Investors are paying close attention to the development of key policy issues, particularly around tax reform, and that could lead to changes in strategy once we have more clarity." 

Investors also see increasing political risk, but this is a global concern, not limited to the U.S., he said.


"For now, the immediate concerns for foreign investors include currency exchange risk and hedging costs associated with the strong dollar, the effect of rising interest rates on financing costs and investment returns, and the ability to successfully place capital in a competitive market," Wise said.

But they still like the overall stability, transparency and liquidity of the U.S. real estate market, and it remains the top destination for offshore investment. "And in AFIRE's recent foreign investor survey, Seattle ranked fourth among the top five U.S. cities for real estate investment, following New York, Los Angeles and Boston."


City of Seattle Ccouncil member Rob Johnson, who will be a speaker, said he is optimistic about development prospects in the coming years. "Every day new people, new employers and new institutions are investing in the city. They enhance Seattle with new knowledge and innovation across multiple industries, new training opportunities for the regional workforce, and increased vitality in our neighborhoods."

The city will play its part as well, he added. "The City of Seattle will continue to prioritize development of new parks, transit, schools, as well as other services and infrastructure needed to both respond to and prepare for future growth."


Pine Street Group principal Matt Griffin (seen at a previous Bisnow event) said he too is optimistic about development prospects in greater Seattle because the region has created an environment that attracts talent. That will drive demand for new space. "The city is the built environment to complement the natural setting."

Find out more about the future of the market at our Seattle Forecast 2017 at the Four Seasons Seattle, beginning at 7:30 a.m. Feb. 23 with breakfast and schmoozing. Sign up here.