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Assessing the Size of Global Real Estate Markets

Some takeaways from MSCI's Real Estate Market Size report on the state of global commercial real estate investment.

It's no surprise that the U.S. is the largest commercial real estate market in the world. But how big is it compared to some other nations?

Each year, MSCI's Real Estate Market Size report provides an answer by gauging the size of the professionally-managed real estate investment market. New York City-based MSCI Inc. is a global provider of equity, fixed income, hedge fund stock market indexes, and multi-asset portfolio analysis tools. 

The MSCI Global Annual Property Index weighs real estate investment returns across 25 countries. While MSCI’s national indexes for Japan and Korea are included in the MSCI Global Annual Property Index, its market data for seven other Asian countries–China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand–are excluded from that index, but included in the overall report.

This year's report, issued earlier this summer, found that the size of the professionally-managed global real estate investment market increased by 7.8 percent from $8.9 trillion in 2018 to $9.6 trillion in 2019. The growth was higher as compared to 2018 when the market grew by 4.1 percent.

Other takeaways that MSCI highlighted for the report included: 

  1. Currency movements had a marginal impact compared to 2018 figures. Currency movements impacted the size of the global real estate investment market by approximately +0.1 percent in U.S. Dollars (USD), in contrast to the negative impact in 2018 (-2.6%). Asset value growth and transaction activity of already existing portfolios, newly identified portfolios and new developments in the market, such as new construction and sale and leaseback transactions, also contributed to the growth in market size.

  2. The relative weight of the United States within the MSCI Global Annual Property Index (Unfrozen; Weighting: Market Size) increased from 40.9 percent in 2018 to 41.3 percent in 2019

  3. China continues to be the fourth-largest market for the second consecutive year behind United States, Japan, United Kingdom having overtaken Germany in 2018.

The following gallery walks through the 20 largest markets listed in the report, which are also highlighted in the two charts below.

Notably, MSCI's report is through the end of 2019. So the numbers do not take into account any changes that have resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic. 


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