Direct investment in European commercial property increased by 40%, or €5.1bn, in the third quarter, according to Jones Lang LaSalle.

The firm’s European Investment Market Update, released today at EXPO Real in Munich showed a second quarter-on-quarter on rise, almost certainly meaning that the first quarter of 2009 marked the low point in European investment market activity.

Jones Lang LaSalle’s head of European capital markets Tony Horrell said that he expected fourth quarter activity to rise again, and for 2009 total European investment volumes to reach €60bn.

He said sentiment had improved across Europe since the summer, with investors keener on prime property in the bigger, western European markets.

Horrell said London was ‘flooded with equity’, with institutions, REITs, retail funds and high net worth individuals all now trying to buy property that has fallen in value by up to 50%.

However, Horrell also cautioned that even at improved levels, European investment activity would still fall far short of 2008, which saw also signalled a 55% fall compared with 2007.