For yet another year, foreign investors in real estate showed preference to the U.S. as the market with the most capital appreciation potential. And Washington D.C. tops the list of U.S. cities, followed by New York, and at a distance by San Francisco, Boston and Los Angeles.

These are the results of the 18th annual survey of the members of the Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate (AFIRE), which was conducted in the fourth quarter of 2009. The association’s nearly 200 members own more than $842 billion of real estate globally including $304 billion in the U.S.

It is notable that this year, 51 percent of respondents identified the U.S. as providing the best opportunity for capital appreciation. Comparatively, the same number for the previous years was 37 percent in 2008, 26 percent in 2007, and 23 percent in 2006. It feels like 2003 again, which was the last time respondents’ perceptions for U.S. real estate were as strong, reaching again 51 percent.

Want more good news? Two thirds of respondents plan to increase their investment in the U.S. in 2010 compared to 2009.

On a global level, Washington D.C was the second favorite city for investors’ real estate dollars, losing the first place it held in 2009 to London. New York was in third place, while Paris and Tokyo placed at a distant fourth and fifth place respectively.

Personally, the most propertylicious piece of information that came out of this report was that an increasing number of survey respondents say that “green” attributes influence their property purchases.

Specifically, 14 percent indicate that green attributes “significantly” influence their decision-making when considering a property; 70 percent say green attributes are “somewhat” of an influence. In the 2009 survey, the numbers were 12 percent and 60 percent respectively. Also, the number of respondents saying that “green” attributes are of no influence at all, dropped to 17 percent in 2010, from 28 percent in 2009.

We’re getting there!

You can read the full survey results at www.afire.org

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