LONDON Feb 29 U.S. and Canadian property
investors will do more deals in Europe this year than their Far
Eastern and Middle Eastern counterparts, capitalising on North
America's relative economic strength, property consultancy CBRE
North American investors accounted for 30 percent of the
total number of cross-border deals in Europe last year, up from
21 percent in 2010. It was the largest slice ahead of 13 percent
of deals from 'other European countries' and the trend will
continue this year, said Jonathan Hull, EMEA head of capital
markets at CBRE.
Larger U.S. deals included Morgan Stanley's purchase
of the Galleria Shopping Centre in St Petersburg, Russia, for
about 840 million euros ($1.1 billion).
"North America is moving into recovery more quickly," said
Hull. "They are experienced players in the property market and I
would expect them to be the biggest cross-border investors in
Europe again in 2012."
U.S. investors spent 9 billion euros while Canadian buyers
accounted for 2 billion euros. Total domestic and cross-border
investment in European property was 118 billion euros in 2011
versus a figure of 239 billion in 2006 at the height of the
There have been better than expected U.S. economic data so
far this year in relation to jobs and construction activity and
a commitment by the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates low.
U.S. private equity giants Blackstone, Lone Star and
Carlyle are stepping up their search for bargains in Europe's
ravaged commercial property market, where lending has been
slashed and banks face growing pressure to offload bad real
estate assets and debt.
Separately, Boston Properties, the property firm run
by Mort Zuckerman, the publisher and proprietor of the New York
Daily News, is reportedly close to making its London debut with
the 285-million-pound purchase of the Drapers Gardens office
block in London's financial district.
Canadian pension funds, which escaped the worst of the
global credit crisis, are investing more overseas because they
own much of the best domestic real estate. The property arm of
the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System is developing
the London skyscraper known as the Cheesegrater with British