European commercial real estate investment grew to €25.7 billion (Dh135.4bn) in the fourth quarter of 2009, up 42 per cent on the previous quarter, according to CB Richard Ellis Group.
This is the highest quarterly total since Lehman's collapse, and a confirmation that the upturn in investor interest that started in the major European markets in mid-2009 has now spread further afield in the region.
The fourth quarter activity brings the total 2009 turnover to €70bn, compared to the €121bn reported for 2008 as a whole. CB Richard Ellis expects the European investment market to continue this growth in 2010.
Traditionally, fourth quarter is the busiest quarter of the year, therefore seasonal effects have also played a part in these activity levels. Many European markets saw a rush of deals being completed towards the year-end. Overall, 17 out of the 26 monitored markets reported fourth quarter as having the highest quarterly turnover in 2009.
A very sharp turn-around in activity occurred in Europe during the course of 2009. Following a recovery in sentiment from around April, completed transactions picked up strongly from mid-year, with investment deals totaling €43.9bn completed in the second half – a 71 per cent total increase compared to the first half of the year in Europe.
Almost every market saw an increase in investment activity quarter-on-quarter in the fourth quarter, as well as on a half-yearly basis. Most notable was the fact that transactions in both France and Germany – the two largest markets in continental Europe – more than doubled in second half compared to the first half 2009.
Central and Eastern Europe experienced a sharp uplift (of 231 per cent) in the second half, but this was coming from a very low base. Investment in the UK continued to increase, with the second half growth of 64 per cent relative to first half of 2009. This was below the European average, but reflects the fact the UK market had started to recover by the middle of the year, earlier than most other markets.
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