Commercial real estate investment totalled €8.4 billion in 2009,a decline of 44%. However, an increase was seen towards the end ofthe year, with investment reaching €3.5 billion in the fourthquarter, a rise of 62% from the third quarter. Some €2.6 billion oftotal was invested in offices and €600 million in retail premisesin the fourth quarter, but the markets for warehouses andindustrial buildings are still not moving. A high number of dealswere recorded at the end of 2009, mainly for offices, including 29single asset transactions for more than €40 million, of which 24were for office, including five of more than €100 million in theParis Ile-de-France region. This reflects improved access tofinancing for major operations.

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Investment in Ile-de-France rose steadily over the year to reach€2.6 billion in 4Q09, up from a low point of €650 million in 1Q09.Deals were mostly being driven by French and German players, withUS and UK investors still generally holding back, although a fewwere involved in significant deals towards the end of the year.Prime office yields in Ile-de-France continued to fall in thefourth quarter and the decline has now spread to most districts,with prime yields in the Western Crescent and Inner Rim districtsslipping below 7%.

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Outside Paris, commercial real estate investment also picked upin fourth quarter, reaching €800 million, an increase of 160% fromthe third quarter. Lyon saw investment rise to more than €200million, matching the total recorded over the first nine months ofthe year. Prime office yields are also declining in some regions,although the trend is not nearly as widespread as in Ile-de-France.Declines in yields have focused on Lyon, where the Auréalysbuilding in Lyon Part Dieu was sold at a yield of 6.5%, and onStrasbourg, where a building in Schiltigheim sold at a yield of7.5%.

AllanSaundersonis a managing editor of Property FinanceEurope and a contributor to GlobeSt.com.

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