GLOBAL- Property continues to grow as an asset class as volatility continues to impact adversely on equity markets and low interest rates make real estate more attractive, according to new research by DTZ.

The survey went out to investors who have a combined real estate value of around €250bn. Europeans represented some 70% of respondents, with counterparts in the US and Asia Pacific region also taking part.

In particular, the property sector has benefited form strong economic growth in both the US and Europe, and the real estate market has seen growth in the number of cross boarder capital flows, the research suggests. Foreign investors now account for a “significant proportion” of total real estate investments in various different countries.

Some 70% of respondents, mainly Europeans, said that they hold foreign property assets, accounting for just under 20% of their total property portfolios. The report also finds that Europeans are more likely to invest in other European countries.

Furthermore the survey suggests that the number of investments in property is set to increase, with 43% saying they plan to increase their holdings over the next two years, whereas less than 10% said they would reduce theirs.

France, with 58%, is the most popular destination among the investors surveyed, followed by Spain (49%), Germany (38%), Italy (36%) and the UK (35%). But Central Europe is likely to see the greatest increase in investor interest in the next five years.

The research finds that investors are mainly attracted by economic prospects, market size and the legal and regulatory structures that govern the local property markets. Real estate performance is also seen as important.

Most investors enter the markets in partnerships or joint ventures with local players or players that have knowledge of the local market.