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CBRE: Seattle Emerges as a Top Ten Global Market for Real Estate Investors

Seattle joins San Francisco and Los Angeles in representing the U.S. West Coast in the top ten, alongside major global cities such as London, New York, and Tokyo

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Los Angeles, May 5, 2015 Seattle is emerging as major global destination for capital, ranking at number nine on the list of top ten global cities for commercial real estate investment, according to CBRE’s Global Investor Intentions Survey 2015. Seattle is one of three U.S. West Coast cities in the top ten, with San Francisco at number three and Los Angeles at number eight. London retained its position as the top city for investment, while other gateway cities such as Tokyo, Sydney, New York and Paris remained in the top ten.

Second-tier cities saw an increase in investor interest in 2015, with Madrid and Dallas making the top ten, in addition to Seattle. This reflects investors’ search for more attractive yields, as well as greater knowledge and comfort with a larger number of global cities.

“Seattle is emerging as a true global city.  It’s clearly one of the top six coastal gateway cities – and one of the top four in terms of market fundamentals. More and more foreign capital is going to Seattle, and more domestic buyers are adding Seattle to their shopping list for their core mandates as well,” said Kevin Shannon, Vice Chairman in CBRE’s Institutional Group focusing on office investment in the Western U.S. “Seattle in particular is appealing to investors because of its diverse and strong base of credit corporate tenants, and the fact that it has a deep, well-educated work force with a large millennial population. Seattle also has well-above average job growth in many industry sectors besides technology which continues to drive strong office absorption.”

The report also shows global real estate investors remain confident and their intentions are expansionary, with more than half planning to increase their acquisitions in 2015; globally, 53 percent of investors plan to increase their purchases this year.

“The appetite for global real estate investment is increasing as more investors intend to deploy capital outside of their own region this year. Competition for assets is intensifying and many investors plan to move out the risk curve in search of higher yields–a trend that will result in a stronger focus on value-add and opportunistic investments. We believe that a low interest rate environment, economic expansion in an increasing number of markets, and corresponding improvement in real estate fundamentals will attract capital to commercial real estate,” said Chris Ludeman, Global President, CBRE Capital Markets.

Office and industrial remain the preferred asset classes, selected by 33 percent and 29 percent of investors respectively. Investor interest in industrial and logistics assets is being driven by the structural change in the retail sector and the growth of e-commerce; however, there is a limited supply of assets in this sector available for sale, meaning that investors will continue to face challenges when sourcing deals.

Half of respondents identified asset pricing as the top obstacle to acquiring real estate assets. The tight availability of assets (21 percent) and competition from other investors (19 percent) were also identified as obstacles in all regions.

“The “new normal” economic environment of moderate growth, low interest rates and compressing bond yields continue to drive investment in commercial real estate. We also observe the continuing globalization of the investment market, reflected by the 40 percent y-o-y growth in cross-regional capital flows in 2014–a figure well above the growth rate for the market overall. The survey findings strengthen our view that overall volumes and cross-regional investment will increase in 2015,” said Richard Barkham, Global Chief Economist, CBRE.

To request a copy of CBRE’s Global Investor Intentions Survey 2015 or to speak with a CBRE expert, please contact Aaron Richardson (212.984.7126 or aaron.richardson@cbre.com) or Christy Ingle (949.751.9200 or christy.ingle@cbre.com).

About the Survey
The 2015 CBRE Global Investor Intentions Survey was conducted using an online questionnaire in January 2015. Responses were obtained from more than 700 real estate investors in the Americas, EMEA and Asia Pacific from a broad range of investor types including asset managers; property companies; institutional investors; REITs; private investors and banks. 317 responses were obtained in Asia Pacific; 290 in EMEA; and 85 in the Americas. The global survey results were formulated by weighting the survey responses according to global capital flows in all three regions.

About CBRE Group, Inc.
CBRE Group, Inc. (NYSE:CBG), a Fortune 500 and S&P 500 company headquartered in Los Angeles, is the world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment firm (in terms of 2014 revenue). The Company has more than 52,000 employees (excluding affiliates), and serves real estate owners, investors and occupiers through more than 370 offices (excluding affiliates) worldwide. CBRE offers strategic advice and execution for property sales and leasing; corporate services; property, facilities and project management; mortgage banking; appraisal and valuation; development services; investment management; and research and consulting. Please visit our website at www.cbre.com.