Size may indeed matter in explaining how Canada became the top global investor in the U.S. property market.
Canadian investment in U.S. real estate amounted to $5.2B in acquisitions in the first half of 2017, or 30% of the total global foreign investment, according to a recent report from JLL. Over that same period, second place China tallied $3.6B (21%) in U.S. acquisitions.
This figure is by no means a one-time statistical blip. Canada has regularly topped the list of foreign investors in the U.S. over the last decade.
In the first half of this year, Chinese investments in the U.S. have reflected a pullback following the government’s tightening on capital leaving the country and increased interest in other world markets for acquisitions. Meanwhile, Canadian investment grew.
How does a country with a population (36 million) barely larger than Morocco regularly invest more in American real estate than China and its 1.4 billion citizens? One factor may be Canada’s diminutive size.
“Canadian investors have to look elsewhere,” JLL Canada CEO Brett Miller said.
“The Canadian market just doesn’t have the same opportunities for investment. There’s just not enough in Canada. There’s just simply a large amount of competition in Canada and limited opportunities. The entirety of office space in Canada is equal to the amount of office space in Manhattan alone.”