Direct commercial real estate transaction volumes across Europe are down 60% from last year, totalling just €25bn (£20bn) in Q3, says Lang LaSalle.

The combined annual total for the year so far is 50% down from 2007, totalling €94bn (£74bn) altogether.

Only three markets (Netherlands, Sweden and Russia) recorded an increase in volumes compared to Q3 2007.

The Netherlands and Finland were among the few markets that showed growth over the quarter with volumes increasing 40% to €2.0bn and 56% to €585 million respectively.

But Ireland, Norway, Germany and the UK’s volumes were all significantly down.

However, while UK volumes slowed by 29%, it remained Europe’s most active market in the quarter with €5.7bn (£4.5bn) of direct transactions.

And, along with Germany - which was down 9% to €3.2bn (£2.5bn) – the UK accounted for over a third of European investment transactions.

Tony Horrell, Head of European Capital Markets at Jones Lang LaSalle said the ‘excessive turbulence in the world’s financial markets in the past three weeks’ would have a result on prediction for next year’s results.

He said: ‘We are expecting direct real estate investment volumes in Europe to reach close to €115bn in 2008, but are yet to issue guidance on 2009 and beyond, other than to say we foresee opportunities aplenty for a wide spectrum of investors if they can avoid or insulate themselves sufficiently from the very real problems of refinancing, distress, and falling values that will afflict many investors and be a feature of the next 18 months at least.

‘The de-leveraging of the market which will inevitably take place against the background of falling prices in the majority of markets will provide opportunities for equity buyers.’