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Thu 23 Jan 2020 01:48 PM

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Middle East investments in US real estate soar during 2019

Knight Frank says investment into the US from the Middle East has more than doubled in the past year, accounting for 15.4% of all global deals

Middle East investments in US real estate soar during 2019
The Manhattan skyline in New York.

Demand from Middle East investors for US real estate has intensified over the last year, bolstered by the continued strength of the US dollar, according to new research.

Real estate consultancy Knight Frank indicates investment into the US from the Middle East has more than doubled in the past year, accounting for 15.4 percent of all global cross-border property investment in the 12 months to the end of September 2019, up from 7.2 percent over the previous year.

Knight Frank said Middle East-based families are increasingly turning their attention to intergenerational planning to preserve the passage of wealth.

Real estate investment remains a significant asset class for wealth preservation, evidenced by 29 percent of Middle Eastern UHNWIs increasing their portfolios’ allocations to real estate in 2018, according to Knight Frank’s Wealth Report published earlier this year.

Liam Bailey, Knight Frank’s global head of research, said: “Middle Eastern investors have long been a critical component of the US property sector. The data we have assessed here considers the whole investment market – residential and commercial – and reveals the recent growth in demand from the region into the US.

"Investment here offers an opportunity for portfolio diversification but also importantly permits access to the underlying dynamism of the US economy.”

Approximately 42 percent of all UHNWIs own second homes outside their country of residence, and while a plentiful supply of real estate in the US spans both branded and non-branded residences, the former has outperformed the average price in the prime resale market.

Properties featuring access to luxury hotel services are even rarer and constitute the most premium options at the top of the Manhattan condominium market.

Richard Jordan, senior vice president of Global Markets at Douglas Elliman added: "US cities like New York City are among the strongest real estate markets for foreign investment for several reasons. The current state of the global economy coupled with increased geopolitical uncertainty have negatively impacted a vast number of other prime markets.

"In New York, an increase in new inventory combined with a reset in pricing at lower levels has created market conditions with more upside potential than the last several years. This, combined with global currency fluctuations and no foreign buyer stamp duty taxes, makes New York City an extremely favourable and stable place to invest for overseas purchasers."

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