EUROPE - Europe’s property investment market was still very active last year, with transactions amounting to 67.5 billions euros, according to real estate investment group Jones Lang LaSalle. But the total was 1% down on the figure for 2001.

The activity was supported by low interest rates and the high liquidity of investment funds. "Cross border investment acquisitions in 2002 were 21.7 billions of euros, 32% of the total. This was a slight fall on the 33% share in 2001, reflecting limited opportunities rather than limited investor appetite for foreign assets," Nick Leming head of European capital markets research at Jones Lang LaSalle.

The UK and France remained the most favoured markets for cross-border investors, accounting for 60% of the total. Sweden, in third place, confirmed its growing importance as a destination for foreigners.

The largest source of capital last year were German open-ended funds and US-managed opportunity funds. Other significant sources of capital include the Asia-pacific, Ireland and the Netherlands.

Jones Lang LaSalle says positive factors influencing the market in 20903 include the growth of indirect investment vehicles, interest in the Nordic and central and eastern Europe, and the attraction of real estate as an asset class. The group also identifies some negative factors, such as a prolonged down turn in the leasing markets, which it points out fell some 30% last year compared with 2001.

While a strong recovery in equity markets could distract investors from real estate, the group believes that total investments volumes in 2003 will match that of 2002.