Investor sentiment has swung towards continental Europe, according to a report revealed today at MIPIM.

The King Sturge European Property Investors and Bankers Survey 2007, which surveyed the top 30 investors and property bankers across Europe, says only a fifth of investors believe returns in the UK this year will exceed last year’s return. This contrasts to the beginning of 2006 when two thirds felt returns would be better.

France and Germany have come into favour with 63% of investors believing Germany will perform better than last year - last year only 36% believed Germany would perform better. A half think France will outperform expectations compared with last year’s total of 37%. Other markets attracting favourable attention include Italy, Spain and the new central and eastern EU countries.

King Sturge said the UK market still remained the most mature, transparent and liquid market in Europe and capital growth would still be quite significant. The firm said safe rather than spectacular returns could be expected.

The amount of money already invested by the interviewees is more than €132bn (£90bn), with average portfolio sizes of E4.6bn (£3bn). The bankers combined have a loan book of E496bn (£337bn) equating to an average size of E17bn (£11.5bn).