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Foreign investors bank on Dallas as No. 3 commercial real estate market in U.S.

Foreign investors bank on Dallas as No. 3 commercial market in U.S.

Dallas skyline with reflection
Dallas' market can expect more foreign investment.  joe daniel price/Getty Images

Not surprisingly, Dallas sits in the bull’s-eye for foreign real estate investors targeting the United States.

In a recent survey released by AFIRE, an industry group for real estate investors, foreign real estate investors favored Dallas over nearly any other U.S. city for buying property in 2021; it lands at No. 3.

Boston ranked second, with Texas neighbor Austin in first place. (Houston tied for No. 14, and San Antonio tied for No. 15.)

Dallas moved ahead several places from its No. 7 ranking on last year’s AFIRE list of the most favored U.S. markets for commercial real estate investment, while Austin wound up No. 10 in 2020, Houston tied for No. 12, and San Antonio was unranked.

"The 2021 survey, conducted in March 2021 and underwritten by Holland Partner Group, reflects investor sentiment and was designed to help understand the goals, challenges, and impacts of international investments on U.S. real estate opportunities," the report says.

This is the first time in the 30-year history of the AFIRE survey that a city as small population-wise as Austin has topped the list or even showed up in the top three. Twenty-three percent of those questioned in the survey put Austin in the No. 1 spot, and 33 percent ranked Austin first, second, or third.

“Commercial transactions are likely to pick up in the second half of 2021 and in 2022 as more people get vaccinated, more businesses operate at higher capacity, personal leisure and business travel pick up, and consumer spending rises,” the National Association of Realtors noted in a first-quarter report about Austin’s commercial real estate market.

In this year’s AFIRE survey, foreign real estate investors chose apartment buildings as their favorite property type, followed by warehouses.

Overall, investor outlook is positive, they say.

"Three in four investors expect their volume of U.S. real estate investment activity in 2021 to increase, with six in 10 foreseeing revenue growth," the AFIRE report says. "Innovation, demographic forecasting, economic and geopolitical stability, and supportive investment policies will be key for success in US real estate over the next decade."