DALLAS — Commercial real estate investors in the Americas are showing a clear shift in risk tolerance and a preference for secondary markets in 2021, according to the findings of CBRE’s latest Americas Investor Intentions Survey.
The survey, which covers all asset types, found that investor sentiment and activity began to improve in the second half of 2020, and should continue to improve this year as widespread vaccination aids the economic recovery. In a clear sign that risk tolerance is growing, 30% of investors say they are targeting opportunistic and distressed assets in 2021 — this is a record level and compares with 16% in 2020.
For the first time in the seven-year history of the CBRE survey, large investors (those with assets under management of more than $50 billion) are more interested in secondary markets than primary markets. Sun Belt markets are the most appealing: Austin is the top preferred market, followed by Dallas.
Investors are also expanding the types of properties on their shopping list, with 72% of respondents actively pursuing investment in one or more real estate alternatives in 2021, up from 54% in 2020. Life science labs, medical offices, and single-family rentals are the most popular targets, followed closely by data centers and cold-storage facilities.
“Investors in the Americas appear more aggressive and will accept more risk to achieve higher returns. This is likely due to a stable economic environment, supported by government stimulus, and the belief that available capital will remain abundant for the foreseeable future, as well as intense competition among investors,” said Chris Ludeman, global president of capital markets for CBRE. “While the equity markets have signaled rising inflation expectations, at the time of the survey, commercial real estate investors did not appear to be overly concerned in the near term.”