October 01, 2015
New York City real estate is never short of mantras and catch phrases, but few have taken hold of the industry’s collective mind like “safe haven.” Seemingly no conference, panel discussion or research report can do without these two words. The notion that the New York market is a “safe haven” for foreign investors fleeing economic turmoil has become a guiding ideology for developers, investors and brokers from the Bronx to the Battery. Regardless of whether that claim actually has merit, it’s based on an undeniable trend: the significant growth in foreign investment in the Big Apple’s real estate market in recent years. And, many of these new investors are drawn here by the city’s comparatively stable prices, relative liquidity and easy accessibility. But what the true believers often fail to mention is that New York isn’t the world’s only “safe haven.” For today’s investors, the choice is no longer between buying in Midtown or Lower Manhattan. It’s often a choice to invest in one of a handful of global urban powerhouse cities, particularly New York, London and Hong Kong, but also Singapore, Paris and other so-called gateway cities around the globe. And like New York, many of these cities have seen an influx of foreign capital since the 2008 worldwide economic crisis. This month, The Real Deal stacked New York up against these other megacities in several key real estate investment areas, including luxury residential purchases, commercial trophy properties, retail investments and taxes. The goal was to figure out why investors would choose, or bypass, New York when deciding where to park their cash.