Two years into the steepest downturn in memory, investors are beginning to dip their toes back into the market. Although the first ones to enter the still-churning waters may be viewed as the ultimate risk-takers, the properties they are hunting for are anything but risky. Today’s risk takers have joined the back-to-basics crowd. It’s not the high-flying, high-return opportunistic real estate that is attracting their attention — it’s the prime assets that are being offered at prices not seen in decades.
Finding prime assets continues to be something of a treasure hunt. Investors are starting with a map of Europe as their investment universe, and then slowly focusing on the prize by eliminating unsuitable markets and unsatisfactory sectors, then tossing out properties that don’t meet their — or, just as likely, their banks’ — investment parameters until they end up with the perfect asset.