Commercial real-estate buyers in China, Germany and other foreign countries are seeing value in Seattle, according to a trade group’s recent survey.

Share story

The influx of capital from China, Germany and other countries into the U.S. commercial real-estate market could ratchet up in 2016 — and Seattle is high on buyers’ shopping lists, according to a trade group.

In a tie with Boston, Seattle ranked fifth among U.S. cities as the best for real-estate investment in a recent survey by the Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate (AFIRE), a trade association with nearly 200 members from 21 nations.

New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., topped the list of U.S. cities in a survey of the group’s members, which are institutional investors such as pension funds and sovereign-wealth funds. The survey also found that foreign investors are prioritizing apartments and industrial property, followed by retail, office and hotels.

Seattle, which ranked eighth in last year’s survey, previously made the group’s list of top five U.S. cities in 2006 and 1992.

Last year already brought Seattle growing interest from foreign buyers.

In August, Hong Kong-based Gaw Capital Partners bought Columbia Center, the Pacific Northwest’s tallest skyscraper, for $711 million, marking the first time a big Asian investment firm landed a trophy tower here. Gaw purchased the 27-story Seattle Tower several weeks later.

In November, Pacific Eagle US Real Estate Fund — a joint venture between a Hong Kong-based firm and an affiliate of Beijing-based China Orient Asset Management, a state-owned financial institution — bought the 15-story Dexter Horton Building in Seattle for $124.4 million.

And last month, one of Germany’s largest real-estate fund managers paid Seattle-based Vulcan Real Estate $299 million for an office complex it developed and leased to

James Fetgatter, chief executive of the trade group of foreign institutional investors, said a tax change Congress made in the December budget deal should attract more investment by foreign pension funds.

For the first time since 1980, foreign pension funds are now exempt from having to pay taxes under the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act, Fetgatter said Monday in an interview.