With more than $143 billion in transactions, investor demand in industrial assets in the U.S. soared to new heights in 2021, up 32% over 2019’s previous high-water mark. Cross-border investors accounted for a record-setting $19.5 billion of that activity, up 152% year-over-year, signaling the strength of the U.S. industrial sector and the overall economy.
Five countries account for 91% of 2021’s total cross-border transaction volume. Boosted by GIC’s $6.8 billion portfolio purchase from EQT Exeter in the fourth quarter, Singapore led with 57% of the transactions, followed by Canada with 21%, or $4.1 billion. Bahraini, French and South Korean investors also funneled a significant amount of capital into the industrial sector.
“Capital typically follows strong property fundamentals, and the strength of underlying property fundamentals has helped investors offset inflation fears, driving a record level of investment activity in 2021,” said Senior Managing Director John Huguenard and Industrial Platform Leader with JLL’s Capital Markets group. “The favorable consumption patterns in the U.S., combined with the pressure to allocate record level dry powder, will continue to drive investors to the industrial sector in 2022.”
Canadian investors significantly increased their investment activity in the U.S. by 64.5% percent year over year and they show no signs of slowing down. The activity was led by the $2.2 billion-acquisition of a 14.5 million-square-foot infill and light industrial portfolio by Oxford Properties Group, a leading global real estate investor, asset manager and business builder. In December 2021, Oxford formed a joint venture with Denver-based EverWest Real Estate Investors to accelerate Oxford’s U.S. infill industrial portfolio growth. The JV seeks to acquire and develop approximately $1 billion (gross asset value) of infill, small-bay, industrial properties across the U.S. JLL’s Capital Markets group represented Oxford in both transactions.
“We are surrounded by a surplus of foreign capital in the industrial market that has propelled strong operators to grow their portfolios and platforms,” added Managing Director Marc Duval with JLL’s Capital Markets group. “The joint venture between Oxford, a foreign capital source, and EverWest, a proven operator, will be a force for the long-term. We anticipate more partnerships to form in the coming months due to foreign capital’s further interest in U.S. industrial real estate.”
Another trend seen in 2021 is a shift in the markets benefiting from the most cross-border investment. Where Dallas, Chicago, Atlanta, Los Angeles and the Inland Empire have consistently been favored markets since 2016 – Memphis, Phoenix, Houston, Philadelphia and Indianapolis have become more sought after.
“Attracted to the strength of their economies and positive demographic trends, investors have accelerated their capital placement towards Sun Belt markets,” said Nicholas Rita, Research Manager, Industrial Capital Markets. “These favorable market conditions will facilitate further investor interest in 2022.”
JLL’s Capital Markets group is a full-service global provider of capital solutions for real estate investors and occupiers. The firm’s in-depth local market and global investor knowledge delivers the best-in-class solutions for clients — whether investment sales and advisory, debt advisory, equity advisory or a recapitalization. The firm has more than 3,000 Capital Markets specialists worldwide with offices in nearly 50 countries.
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