And the report says businesses, local government and communities across the Northern Powerhouse must work together to increase awareness of the region on a global scale if the North is to continue to prosper.
The report from accountancy group EY shows transport, skills and business networks are the most important factors for international investors considering where to invest in the UK.
Devolution of power to a more local level is also well-received, with 42% investors saying it increases the attractiveness of the region, compared to only 7% who felt it could have a negative effect.
Despite this, only 38% of investors surveyed globally, and just half of existing UK investors said they were aware of the devolution agenda.
The report includes five action points for continued leadership and growth in FDI: increase awareness of the Northern Powerhouse; sell its strengths; improve transport links; encourage expansions of existing projects as well as new investments; and think globally.
EY’s senior partner in Yorkshire and the North East, Stuart Watson, said: “The US was the leading individual source of FDI in the region in 2015, but the majority of FDI projects in the North of England actually came from Europe.
“With Brexit on the horizon, these relationships will need to be bolstered.”
Simon Allport, senior partner in the North West, added: “Outside of Europe, new investment in 2015 was secured from India and Japan but less so from China or other locations.
“We can do this better if we work together, showcasing the assets and skills available not just in one region but across the North.
“In May next year, elections will take place across the country for nine new mayors, five of them in the North of England, from Liverpool across to the Tees Valley.
“It is imperative that these metro mayors act as global ambassadors for each of their regions on the global stage. The new mayors must also work closely with each other to encourage investment into the North as a whole.”