Norway Invests in U.S. Real Estate

Norway’s $870 billion sovereign-wealth fund secures buildings from New York to San Francisco making Norway the No. 2 foreign buyer of U.S. real estate. This year, the country has spent more than $3.2 billion on real estate in the United States.

Norway’s heavy presence in U.S. real estate makes the country the biggest international buyer after Canada. These foreign investors have driven building prices up because they are willing to accept a lower yield in place for a safe place to put their money. Norway is not only spending money in the U.S. but globally. The country is spending billions of dollars on global properties to reach the wealth fund’s target to invest five percent in real estate.

Last year, Norway began investing outside of Europe. The wealth fund held $1.3 billion of property across the world, totaling 1.2 percent of their total assets at the time. Norway recently acquired Boston Properties Inc. (BXP), the largest U.S. office real estate investment trust. The country arranged to buy 45 percent stake in 601 Lexington Avenue in Manhattan. The building was once known as Citigroup Center and is in Boston’s Atlantic Wharf Office Building. This deal’s cap rate is 3.8 percent, nearing the record-low investment yields from the 2007 property boom. 

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Nick Banks

Nick created Front Street Commercial Real Estate Group in 2002 and spent the first eight years developing and acquiring office and retail projects in South Florida as well as North Central Florida. In 2010 the focus of the firm was shifted to primarily serve third party clients and perform brokerage, property management and mortgage banking functions. Nick has personally developed and acquired nearly 200,000 square feet of office and retail properties in markets throughout Florida. Prior to founding Front Street, Nick was the Director of Finance and Dispositions for Stiles Corporation in Fort Lauderdale where he financed and sold over $500 million in commercial real estate. Before joining Stiles, Nick was an Associate Director at GE Capital Real Estate where he sourced over $200 million in financing throughout Florida. Nick is a graduate of the University of Florida with a degree in Finance and a concentration in Real Estate. He serves as a board member and current vice-chair for the United Way of North Central Florida where he also chairs the Development Committee. Nick is actively involved with the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce where he serves as a board member and committee member for the Council for Economic Outreach. He is also a recent graduate of Leadership Gainesville which is a year long leadership program hosted by the Chamber. He is a member of Grace United Methodist Church where he has served as finance chair and as a member of the leadership council. Nick serves as an advisory board member of the University of Florida Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Studies. Nick was recently named chair of the Gainesville committee for the North Florida chapter of Urban Land Institute (ULI). He is a licensed real estate broker in the State of Florida and is a long time member of the International Council of Shopping Centers.

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