Despite Brexit headlines, London has defeated global rivals New York and Berlin to top the Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate’s annual survey.

A survey by the Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate (Afire), conducted by the James A Graaskamp Center for Real Estate at the Wisconsin School of Business, asked members to rate markets based on a variety of metrics, including capital appreciation and transparency.  


Afire members, who are responsible for more than $2000bn in real estate assets under management, selected London as the top global city, despite ongoing uncertainty attached to the UK’s exit from the EU.

Edward Casal, Afire chairman and chief executive of global real estate operations at Aviva Investors, identified "stable rule of law, transparency, and use of the English language" as among London's most appealing attributes.

Meanwhile, US cities suffered notable setbacks in this year’s survey. New York City, which earned top US honours for the past seven years, dropped into a first-place tie with Los Angeles. US cities such as San Francisco and Washington D.C. saw their global positions tumble from fifth to 11th and 15th to 25th respectively.

While US cities slumped against international competition, the US as a whole remained as the most stable country for real estate investment and the best opportunity for capital allocation. Despite London's success, the UK as a country slipped from third place to fifth for best opportunity for capital allocation.

These results are reflective of a growing trend among real estate investors, who are investing more in logistical properties, rather than retail or traditional office spaces, concluded Jim Fetgatter, the chief executive of Afire. "With the growth of online shopping, foreign investors continue to rank industrial/logistics properties as their number one investment opportunity," he said.

However, in terms of capital investment, the UK was the unrivalled top destination for greenfield investment in real estate in 2017, worth $9.1bn according to fDi Markets, a investment monitor from the Financial Times. The US took second place.

Conversely, New York City was the top destination city for greenfield real estate investment in 2017, attracting $3.7bn, found fDi Markets. Second place was London with $1.8bn.