Direct property investment reached €120.7bn (£82bn) in the first half of 2007, new research released today revealed.

Figures from Jones Lang LaSalle said this is an increase of 9% from the same period in 2006.

There was a marked increase in portfolio sales, which reached €36bn (£24.4bn) during the first half of the year, compared to €11bn (£7.5bn) during the same period last year.

Cross-border investment represented 64% of all transactions, the same as during the corresponding period last year.

Tony Horrell, chief executive of European capital markets at Jones Lang Lasalle, said: ‘Following a record start to the year we see 2007 as another strong year of investment volumes, supported by positive rental growth and good occupier demand.

‘However, we do foresee a two-speed market emerging, with a slower pace of investment activity in the UK compared to continental Europe.’