By Michelle Conlin
(Reuters) - New York City regained its top position among global commercial real estate buyers, unseating London and highlighting the appeal of U.S. properties in general, according to a survey of international investors released Tuesday.
More than 90 percent of respondents said they planned to maintain or increase the size of their U.S. portfolio in 2015, according to the survey conducted by the Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate. AFIRE members have an estimated $2 trillion in real estate assets under management.
The U.S. was voted the most stable and secure country for investment, outdoing both second-place Germany and third-place United Kingdom. Foreign investors also chose the U.S. as the best place for capital appreciation, outperforming second-place Spain and third-place U.K.
Looking forward, two thirds of investors said they expect China to become the largest source of capital into the U.S. in 2016 and beyond.
In the U.S., investors' top pick of New York was followed by San Francisco, Houston, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., respectively.
"As it periodically has been in the past, the United States is currently the target of much of the foreign investment in real estate globally," said Thomas Arnold, Head of Americas-Real Estate Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and Chairman of AFIRE.
"With a stable and transparent market and an economy that appears to be steadily improving without the fits and starts experienced in other regions, the U.S. has become the first stop for foreign real estate investors. And with the continued creation of wealth in China, it is not surprising that they, along with other nationalities, are voting with their 'dollars.'"
After second-place London and No. 3 San Francisco, Tokyo and Madrid rounded out the top five cities globally. Last year Tokyo was in fifteenth place and Madrid ranked thirteenth. These cities replaced Houston and Los Angeles.
Brazil re-emerged as the No. 1 pick for emerging markets, kicking China into second place. Mexico took third place. For the first time, Poland was among the investors' top five emerging countries, tied for fourth place with Chile.
(Reporting By Michelle Conlin; Editing by Christian Plumb)