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Timing "could not be better" for Canadians to invest in US real estate

No time like the present for Canadians to invest in the US commercial real estate market, according to REIT promoters with offerings that specialize in distressed residential as well as business properties.

Another sign that the American real estate market is back, this time in the commercial sector, is the fact that Canadians are investing in it. A story at CoStar, a commercial real estate research and information source, says that Canadians have put $350 million into a slew of new Toronto-based REITs and funds in the last several weeks with the aim of investing in the US commercial real estate market.

CoStar lists four funds, including Slate U.S. Opportunity (# 2) Realty Trust; Timbercreek U.S. Multi-Residential Opportunity Fund #1; U.S. Housing Recovery Fund; and U.S. Agency Mortgage-Backed REIT Advantaged Fund.

An earlier fund from Tricon Capital raised $125 million in September for a US distressed residential real estate fund, Tricon XL LP. The Tricon fund will provide financing for real estate developers for acquiring and developing distressed properties.

The Slate fund will focus on retail properties in “secondary” markets like Pittsburgh and Charlotte, where population and employment are “sustainable” and there is limited risk of new development. Slate has acquired real estate assets all over North America, for a total value of $1 billion, CoStar says.

The other funds target city apartment buildings with a minimum of 200 units, as well as companies that operate in the housing sector, such as homebuilders, building products, home improvement suppliers, housewares and appliances.

A Timbercreek spokesman told CoStar that the timing for investing in the apartment building market “could not be better,” presenting an opportunity for Canadian investors to capitalize on “mispriced and under-managed” residential properties in the US southeast.  

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