Direct property investment into Europe reached a record €242bn (£163bn) last year up 39% on 2005.

According to Jones Lang LaSalle’s European Capital Markets Bulletin published today the €68bn (£45bn) increase from the previous year was the biggest volume increase ever recorded.

Most European countries had investment increases with Germany rising by 141% to €49.5bn (£33bn) and France rising by 67% to €24.1bn (£16bn). Russia had a huge increase of more than 700% to reach €3.4bn (£2.2bn) and is now the second largest market in the -CEE market.

Volumes in the CEE region doubled to €13.3bn (£9bn) with Poland’s investment market increasing by 70% to €5.1bn (£3bn). The Nordics also maintained their position as a leading region for investment with volumes of €30.8bn (£21bn). The UK remained static with €80bn (£54bn) of investment in 2006.

It said the figures revealed the trend for investors to move further east in pursuit of growth and value opportunities. UK investors were the biggest buyers and snapped up €63.4bn (£43bn) of property – 70% of which was in the UK. Irish buyers bought €13bn (£9bn) with most spent in the UK and Ireland. Inter-regional investment rose significantly last year to €67.8bn (£45bn), particularly from American and Australian sources of capital.