China was the only country to post a significant gain, up 139%to $156 billion, some 41% of global volume. Without it, volumewould have fallen 52%.

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"While the annual comparisons reflect broad declines since 2007,quarterly data show a marketplace that appears to be making aremarkable recovery," RCA says. Volumes surged in Q4 to $147billion, the first rise in seven quarters. "So far, investmentactivity is rebounding in a clear V shape but risks remain, andsome fear the V could easily become a W. Nevertheless, sentimentamong investors is much improved and 2010 is starting with a broadbut cautious sense of optimism."

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Fourth quarter global deals surged 85% against Q4 2008 to $147billion. Volume was up across markets geographically and acrossnearly every property type, with hotels the sole exception. Salesof office, retail and industrial properties were up 29%collectively.

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Across the regions, China boosted the volume in Asia-Pacific,and this rose 240% in Q4, or 66% excluding China. In Europe-MiddleEast-Africa, volumes were up 17%, with the UK easily outstrippingwith a 136% rise. Only the US and Canada saw a slight decline,taking all the Americas down 67% last year in volume, though theregion's 6% decline in Q4 as a whole actually represented asignificant improvement.

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RCA notes: "The rebound in the investment markets is occurringagainst a backdrop of significant volume of troubled propertyloans. A surprise over the past year is how few distressed saleshave resulted, since lenders are often opting to extend and modifyrather than foreclose and liquidate."

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New reports of defaulted mortgages and failed commercialproperty companies exceeded $218 billion in 2009. In EMEA andAsia-Pacific, new instances of distress have slowed considerablyand grew by less than 10% in Q4.

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

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