Europe, Asia Pacific and the Americas have seen record strong growth in global commercial real estate volumes in the first three months of 2013.
Preliminary data from international real estate consultants Jones Lang LaSalle show direct investment volumes reached US$94 billion, an 8% rise compared with the first quarter of 2012.
The market research covering 60 countries suggests that commercial real estate continues to rank high on the list of acquisitions for investors around the world and the firm says that improving confidence in the global economic recovery and a continued demand for direct real estate exposure continue to push volumes higher with Germany, Japan, and the United States all finishing the quarter strong.
All regions show increases over a year ago with the Americas, Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and Asia Pacific all between 7 to 8% higher than a year ago. Growth in the Americas was driven by increases in the two largest markets of the United States and Canada with growth of 20% and 6% respectively.
In Asia Pacific volumes were driven higher by a 30% increase in Japan year on year and stronger investment volumes in Singapore and Hong Kong. Overall the region is 8% up on the first quarter of 2012.
Europe's three biggest markets, the United Kingdom, France and Germany all contributed to the increase in transactional volumes, with Germany recording investment volumes almost 40% higher than a year ago. This helped drive the regional performance to be 8% higher in US dollar terms and 6% higher in Euro terms.
As a result of the improved results Jones Lang La Salle said it maintains its forecast for the year to be between US$450 to US$500 billion, with further growth in quarterly volumes as the year continues.
'Volumes of almost US$100 billion in the first quarter of the year, in what is historically a quieter period, demonstrates the desire investors continue to have for direct real estate investments,' said Arthur de Haast, head of the International Capital Group at Jones Lang LaSalle.
'Encouraged by a slowly improving global economic environment and rising property values, especially in core cities, the number of assets for sale continues to increase,' he added.
David Green-Morgan, global capital markets research director said that the improving sentiment across all real estate markets is encouraging buyers to look at opportunities slightly up the risk curve. 'Vendors are cheered by an increasing number of buyers examining assets in more secondary locations. These two factors are helping to drive volumes higher and we expect this to continue for the remainder of 2013,' he explained.