An annual survey of real estate investors conducted in the final quarter 2017 confirmed London as the world's number one investment target. As reported by Bloomberg, the UK capital city had overtaken New York City which held the first place globally a year ago. The US largest city took a double hit in the ranking where Los Angeles was named for the first time as the top US city. The annual survey of the Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate asked the opinion of its members, who are estimated to have control of assets worth in excess of $2 trillion.

A year ago the AFIRE survey ranked London third while Los Angeles was ranked second among US cities and fourth globally. With London seated comfortably at the apex, the other top five global cities are New York, Berlin, Los Angeles and Frankfurt.

Brexit vote caused less concern among investors than originally predicted

The 26th annual survey was conducted by the James A. Graaskamp Center for Real Estate, Wisconsin School of Business. According to its data, in a year and a half since the EU referendum, London appears to have weathered the UK’s existential Brexit crisis. The City recorded an investment growth of 18 percent year over year, reaching £8.21 billion in the first half of 2017 according to Cushman & Wakefield.

Later the same year two Hong Kong based investors acquired at record prices two of London's most wanted office towers, the iconic Cheesegrater and Walkie Talkie, which the market saw as another sign of confidence. Edward M. Casal, AFIRE's recently elected chairman, and chief executive in global real estate of Aviva Investors, was quoted by PR Newswire explaining London's rebound, "A year later, foreign investors are less concerned about the ramifications of Brexit."

Big Apple losing its appeal globally despite 2010's activity spike

Across the Atlantic New York City is seen on track toward a different kind of record.

Sales of commercial properties in Manhattan continued to slide, predicted to finish 2017 at $19.8 billion (£14.45 billion), thus matching the very number recorded almost a decade ago in 2008, the year of the Lehman Brothers collapse. New York and London emerged from the global recession early and in both cities investment activity was observed to pick up around 2010.

As the decade progressed, real estate prices achieved record highs, and commercial buyers started becoming increasingly concerned about overpaying, which resulted in both Big Apple and Big Smoke experiencing a noticeable contraction of transaction volumes. Then London's path diverged as the 2016 vote introduced factors yet unknown to investors. In the wake of the referendum, the pound lost 10 percent of its value, which offered numerous buyers from abroad more return on their investment. According to The Real Deal, this attracted a new wave of buyers from East Asia and Germany.