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NEW YORK (Reuters) – The United States will remain the top choice of most global commercial real estate investors in 2012, but the country has lost ground to Brazil which ranked No. 2 this year, according to a survey released Sunday.

While the United States offers the most stable and secure option in commercial real estate, investors said improvement in rent and occupancy growth and the repeal of a 1980 foreign investment tax would have the strongest impact on their investment decisions, according to the 20th annual survey of Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate (AFIRE) members.

For about the past year or so, investors in U.S. commercial real estate have focused on gateway cities such as New York, Washington, Boston, San Francisco and Los Angeles, driving prices up and yields down.

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