Real Estate News - Gulf investors put $13 bln into property in 06-report

LONDON, April 11 (Reuters) - Gulf Arab investors invested $13 billion in direct global real estate markets last year -- about 5 percent of the region's petrodollar-inflated current account surpluses -- Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) said on Wednesday.

According to a report from the global property services firm, Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries were also responsible for almost 25 percent of all global property development in their home markets and significant flows into indirect real estate funds.

JLL said direct property investment from Gulf Arab countries in 2006 was 14 percent higher than in 2005, with more than half flowing into U.S. real estate.

The UK, at $4 billion, was the second-favourite destination for Gulf Arab property investments, followed by Germany and South Africa.

"GCC funds are focusing less on trophy assets and are making significant purchases in emerging markets, including the entire Cape Town waterfront development and Europe's largest shopping centre in Istanbul," Tony Horrell, head of JLL's international capital group, said.

GCC funds also traded real estate assets more frequently, selling $2 billion of real estate in both the United States and UK -- a 50 percent jump on 2005.

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