Principal Financial Group chief executive officer Larry Zimpleman, whose firm holds more than $30bn of real estate assets, said new buyers are entering the US commercial market and pushing up prices.

“Smart capital is starting to queue up,” Zimpleman said yesterday in an interview at Bloomberg headquarters in New York. “Prices have now sort of bottomed out and have actually started to slowly move back up again.”

Zimpleman braced Des Moines, Iowa-based Principal for an increase in commercial-property defaults by more than doubling the provision against mortgage losses last year. The dip in property prices, which Zimpleman estimated at about 35%, attracts investors from the US and abroad, he said.