LONDON-The number of sale-leaseback transactions in Europe has shot up 585% since 2004 to €46 billion ($66.1 billion), according to a CB Richard Ellis report. Also during that time, these types of deals have risen from 4% of the continent’s commercial real estate investment market to 21%.

Corporations are taking part in these transactions in an unstable economic environment in order to raise capital, pay off debt and have flexible lease structures. “The wave of sale and leasebacks in the banking sector in recent years eradicated the ‘last resort’ stigma previously attached to this type of transaction, transforming it into another viable choice for corporates looking to raise capital,” says John Wilson, head of corporate strategies within CBRE’s global corporate services business.

This practice is gaining popularity around Europe. In 2005, 42% of all sale leasebacks came out of the UK. Now that number is down to 21% in the past 18 months. Germany has seen an increase, going from 18% of the total in 2005 to 34% over the last year and a half. France, Italy, Spain and Sweden have also stepped up their transactions in the space.

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