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In 2011, cross-border commercial investment activity benefited London, New York, and Paris the most.

According to Jones Lang LaSalle's Year End 2011 Global Capital Flows Study, direct commercial investment totaled US$410.6 billion in 2011, up 28% from 2010.

"After the financial crisis of the last two years, commercial real estate remains a key asset class for many investors," said David Green-Morgan, Jones Lang LaSalle's Global Capital Markets Research Director. "The year 2011 came to a close with a bang, with activity in European markets grabbing the headlines in the fourth quarter, contrary to most predictions." Sale in Qatar | Property Hunter

The following are some of the report's highlights:

The percentage of cross-border purchases increased from 27% in 2010 to 31% in 2011.

Cross-border transactions remained steady in Q4 2011, accounting for 30% of total value.

London is the most active city in the world at the end of 2011, with New York, Paris, Tokyo, and Singapore rounding out the top five.

Transaction volumes in 2012 are projected to be similar to those in 2011, but downside risks exist.

Global direct investment volumes in the fourth quarter of 2011 were 4% higher than in the third quarter, totaling US$106.2 billion. Volumes have now surpassed $100 billion for just the third time in the last three years. Global direct investment transactions were down 6% in Q4 2011 compared to Q4 2010.

Between Q3 and Q4, cross-border purchases as a percentage of overall purchases remained very stable at 30%. Investors, on the other hand, have been more bullish on an annual basis, rising cross-border buying activity from 27% in 2010 to 31% in 2011. The total value of cross-border transactions in 2011 was nearly US$125 billion, up 47% from 2010.

"As macroeconomic conditions permit, investors are increasingly willing to look beyond their own countries for suitable opportunities," says Arthur de Haast, Lead Director of Jones Lang LaSalle's International Capital Group. "Cross-border activity, on the other hand, thrives when the global economy is strong. If market sentiment continues to deteriorate, cross-border and inter-regional flows will be the first to suffer."

Perspectives from Different Regions

With more than US$25 billion in transactions in Q4, the United States remained the single largest source of real estate capital, despite a 17 percent decrease from Q3. With the exception of the United Kingdom, the majority of the major European markets increased. The French took the lead, with domestic and cross-border investment volumes doubling to US$7.6 billion in Q4 from US$3.4 billion in Q3. As a result, their 2011 volumes were 55 percent higher than in 2010.

The Best Investment Prospects

In 2011, London remained the most actively traded city (US$24.3 billion), with New York City rising to second place (US$19.2 billion). Shanghai rose from 13th to 9th place in 2011, with a trade volume of US$7.2 billion, owing to the strength of the Chinese economy.

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