Capital Flows and Office Markets in Major Global Cities

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Purpose: Office markets and particularly international financial centres over the past decade have experienced rapid financialisation, developments and indeed changes in the post-global financial crisis (GFC) landscape. Importantly, the volume and types of international capital flows have witnessed more foreign actors and vehicles entering into the investment landscape with the concentration of investment intensifying within key financial centres. This paper examines the interaction of international real estate capital flows in the London, New York and Tokyo office markets between 2007 and 2017.
Design/methodology/approach: Using Real Capital Analytics (RCA) data comprising over 5,700 office property transactions equating to $563bn between 2007 and 2017, the direct global capital flows into the London, New York and Tokyo office markets are assessed using an autoregressive distributed lag (ARDL) approach. Further, Granger causality tests are examined to analyse the short-run interaction of international real estate capital flows into these three major office markets.
Findings: By assessing the relativity of internal to external investments in these three central business district (CBD) office markets, differences in market dynamics are highlighted. The London office market is shown to be highly dependent on international flows and the USA, the foremost source of cross-border investment on the global stage. The cointegration and causality analysis indicate that cross-border real estate investment flows in these markets (and financial centres) show both long- and short-run relationships and suggest that the London office market remains more distinct and the most reliant on international capital flows with a wider geographical spread of investment activities and investor types. In the case of New York and Tokyo, these markets appear to be driven by more domestic investment activity and capital seemingly due to subtle factors pertaining to investor home bias, risk aversion and diversification strategies between the markets in the aftermath of the GFC.
Originality/value: Given the importance of the CBD offices in London, New York and Tokyo as an asset class for institutional investors, this paper provides some insights as to their level of connection and the interaction of the international capital flows into these three major cities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-25
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Property Investment and Finance
Early online date21 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished online - 21 Jul 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited.

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Auto-regressive distributed lag approach (ARDL)
  • Cointegration
  • Global cities, International investments
  • Granger causality
  • Office market


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