Global economic uncertainty is rarely a good thing. For the US, though, it sometimes works in our favor. During times of uncertainty, investors rush for markets that they know, and everyone knows the US market.

Combined with the low cost of buying dollars these days, that global uncertainty is making the US market look more and more attractive to foreign investors.

Indeed, a number of high profile purchases lately have been perking up media attention. A sovereign wealth fund (SWF) controlled by the government of Abu Dhabi, for instance, recently purchased 90% of the Chrysler Tower, one of New York City’s most well-known landmarks.

While SWFs from oil countries currently have more money than they know what to do with, the Chrysler building purchase is just the most visible sign of a developing trend.

An important group by the name of Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate (AFIRE) recently surveyed its 200 members. Those members control more than $700 billion in cross-border real estate, so, like Will Ferrell’s character in “Anchorman” says, they’re a pretty big deal.

The major question the group investigated was where its members were focusing most of their investment currently. New York City was their top spot, followed closely by London.

The logic is fairly simple. Many markets now are experiencing turbulence that makes them hard to play right. One might as well simply aim for some big long-term investments that, whatever the short-term calamity does, will come out on top in the end. Such is most certainly the case with the top two spots on the list.

AFIRE’s number three and four follow a similar logic: Washington, D.C., and Paris. All four markets, but especially New York and London, are simply proven high return markets in the long run.

While inflation fears and worries about high-interest rates may cramp the national market, it would take nothing short of a massive worldwide economic depression to eliminate the long-term profitability of New York City’s real estate market.

It’s not going to happen, and the fact is that many of the world’s most important global investors continue to look to New York City as a safe haven that nonetheless shows very high long-term returns.


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