Emerging global real estate markets are tricky to navigate, forboth investors and developers, due to headaches like unstablegovernments, Byzantine zoning laws, shaky local infrastructure andthe far-reaching hand of the European debt crisis. But the lure ofa growing middle class can make spots like Brazil, Turkey,Colombia, China and India too attractive to resist.

Thomas McDonald, the chief strategic officer at EquityInternational, says the Chicago-based company “began investing inChina a couple of years ago, initially in the homebuilding sector.”China, whose 2010 GDP hit $5.9 trillion, according to data from theWorld Bank, saw total foreign direct investment that year top outat $105.7 billion. Much of this was the result of real estateinvestors and developers trying to take advantage of the country’sbooming economy.

McDonald says that Equity International tends to concentrate onthe larger countries in terms of GDP and population. Earlier fundsthe group launched, for example, focused on Mexico.

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