- June 1, 2021: Vol. 8, Number 6

Going for seconds: Survey shows real estate investors now favoring secondary U.S. markets

by Mike Consol

For the first time in the seven-year history of the CBRE Americas Investor Intentions Survey, large investors (those with assets under management of more than $50 billion) are more interested in secondary markets than primary markets. Especially appealing are secondary markets in the U.S. Sun Belt, with Austin being identified as the most preferred market, followed by Dallas.

Investors are also expanding the types of properties on their shopping list, with 72 percent of respondents actively pursuing investment in one or more real estate alternatives in 2021, up from 54 percent 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, according to the report.

The upshot: Commercial real estate investors are showing an increasing appetite to accept higher risk in pursuit of higher returns. In a clear sign that risk tolerance is growing, 30 percent of investors say they are targeting opportunistic and distressed assets in 2021 — a survey record and well over the 16 percent who indicated that in the 2020 survey.

Chris Ludeman, global president of capital markets for CBRE, explained that change of strategy 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.”

What’s more, despite rising expectations that inflation will break out, Ludeman says commercial real estate investors do not appear to be overly concerned about rising prices in the near term.

While America’s investor sentiment is improving, there is a disconnect between buyers and sellers: 70 percent of respondents plan to purchase at least 20 percent more than last year, while only 30 percent plan to sell at least 20 percent more.

A copy of the CBRE report can be downloaded here:


Mike Consol ( is editor of Real Assets Adviser. Follow him on Twitter @mikeconsol to read his latest postings.


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