Vultures, Some With Funny Accents, Circle Commercial Real Estate

Bendix Anderson

Commercial real estate may be in serious trouble this year, and many high-flying deals for trophy properties may be crashing to the ground, but investors are eager to scavenge the wreckage - and that's good news for the rest of us.

More than half of the foreign investors polled by the Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate (AFIRE) think that the U.S. is the best place in the world to invest in real estate for capital appreciation. The U.S. is a perennial investor favorite, but the percentage of respondents citing the U.S. this year was the highest since 2003. The Investors say they plan to increase U.S. allocations above 2009 levels by 62 percent for equity and 83 percent for debt, according to the survey.

Also, commercial property investors that stayed away in 2009 are expected to return to the market in 2010, bringing as much as $75 billion dedicated to buying up "distressed properties," according to analysis by Real Capital Analytics.

And a good thing, too. These investors seem to be lining up to catch a falling knife - lessening the chance that the chaos cutting into commercial real estate will hurt the rest of us.