Foreign investor interest in U.S. real estate grew sharply in the fourth quarter of 2009, according to the latest survey by the Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate.  More than half of respondents (51 percent) believe U.S. real estate provides the best opportunity for capital appreciation, up from 37 percent in 2008 and 26 percent in 2007. 

 The United Kingdom ranks second for expected capital appreciation with votes from 30 percent of respondents, followed by China with 10 percent. 

Washington, D.C., and New York City rank highest among U.S. cities thought to offer the best investment opportunities, followed by San Francisco, Boston and Los Angeles.  Two-thirds of respondents say they plan to increase their investment in U.S. properties in 2010, and a majority of them say they prefer multifamily properties over other types.