While rebounding is a factor, analysts also say the move is being driven by the current low interest rate environment.
Firms have lots of cash that they want to park in safe, high-quality investment products, but a 2 percent yield on a 10-year U.S. Treasury bond isn't that attractive.
This is where the annual income generated by leasing commercial property comes into play.
One way to measure investment yield in the commercial property world is to look at what's known as the capitalization rate. (Layman's translation: That's how much profit you expect to make each year divided by how much you paid for it.)
According to the Real Capital analysis, international buyers during the first quarter were expecting on average to net a 6.78 percent annual return on their properties.
The eight malls in the Forest City-QIC purchase have a capitalization rate of 5.75 percent based on forecasted 2013 net operating income.
While lower than the average return other foreign buyers were getting in the first quarter, that's still a far better return than treasury bonds. And there's the added benefit of property value appreciation over time.
Now, if you're wondering why QIC is only buying 49 percent as opposed to a round number like 50, or even 100 percent, look no further than the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act of 1980.
The law, passed as an attempt to discourage international investors from buying up domestic farmland, requires foreign firms to pay taxes on the profits booked from buying and selling properties in the United States — but only if the firm owns 50 percent or more of the property in question.