European investment records tumble
European real estate achieved record volumes of investment in 2006. Some €242 billion flowed in, representing a 39% increase on 2005. That increase, of €68 billion, was another record. In 2007, real estate markets are expected to remain strong, and could well grow further.
"Most institutional investors are still underweight in property," says Andrew Jackson, a property investment director at Standard Life. "Though life companies are an exception, there is still a lot of unsatisfied investor demand in real estate markets."
Profits have been excellent. Even as the bond and equity markets strengthened, real estate outperformed them. "People came looking for a safe haven for their money, and stumbled into huge returns," explains Iain Reid, chairman of the Property Derivatives Interest Group, and CEO of Protego Real Estate Investors.
Today, real estate markets continue to grow all over Europe. According to a survey published in February by Jones Lang LaSalle, volumes in Germany rose by 141% to €49.5 billion. German real estate is very much in vogue among property investors, with attractive yields and increasing opportunity for investment as German companies continue to diversify out of their own economy. Investment in French real estate rose 67% to €24.1 billion, just behind Germany in the list of largest investment levels. Both trail the UK, which remained static at €80 billion of investment. The UK was the first to respond to the changing financial environment, and remains the most liquid, most transparent and most attractive real estate market in Europe.