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WHERE WILL YOU PLACE CAPITAL IN ’08?

Sometimes a year brings no difference whatsoever. Last week’s Quick Poll was a follow-up of the one we asked a year ago, and there was virtually no change at all. The US still ranks as the Numero-Uno choice for investors (60% this year, 58% last), followed by Asia (18% will invest there in ’08; the same as planned to in ’07). Europe came in a weak third both years (7% in the current poll; 8% in last year’s). Mexico actually came in slightly higher both years (8% and 10%), and Canada took equally lackluster numbers both years (scoring equal with Europe this year and pulling 5% last). Very little of this comes as a surprise to Commentator Liantonio, executive VP of Cushman & Wakefield’s global capital markets Group. Here’s his thinking on the subject:

“Even with everything that’s going on currently in the US economy and the debt markets, the US will still see the bulk of investment. The leveraged buyers who were forcing yields up to record levels are out of the picture. The pension-fund allocations at 8% to 10% haven’t been satisfied in recent years because they haven’t been able to compete with those buyers. By definition the markets should offer more attractive yields. “That’s not a great surprise. But I would’ve guessed Asia a little higher than 18% and then Europe right behind. I’m definitely surprised at Mexico being ahead.”In terms of Asia, there’s such incredible pent up demand. There are obviously challenges to doing business in the major economies of China and India, and you’ve got some huge infrastructure problems in both. And you’ve got more political issues that make investment in China a little bit more challenging. But that notwithstanding, those economies are so huge and growing so fast that I thought it would have ranked a little bit higher.

“Canada is an attractive place right now. It hasn’t gone through some of the economic turmoil that the United States has gone through and it’s a pretty stable place to invest your money.

“But even though the numbers are the same as last year, in absolute dollars volume will be lower because prices are going to soften. They won’t crash and burn, but with underwriting criteria softer in terms of rental-growth rates you would see a lower volume of total transactions. CMBS volumes are predicted to be off by well over 50% from 2007.”

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