Trading Places: Is the Grass Greener on the Other Side of the Pond?
The United States and the countries of western Europe contain the most mature and transparent real estate markets in the world. Similar legal and political systems, stable currencies and shared histories make investors comfortable investing across the pond. But comfort isn’t everything. Although Europeans may understand the US market, and Americans may understand the European markets, the question remains: what does investing in overseas markets — particularly markets with similar characteristics — give participants that they can’t get at home?There is no denying that lots of investors are asking that same question. Cross-border investment has fallen dramatically as everyone works through issues in their current portfolios and rethinks the best places to put any uncommitted capital. In 2007, US capital was responsible for $30 billion (Ä19.9 billion) of transactions in Europe. In the first half of 2009, only $1 billion (Ä662 million)