Jones Lang LaSalle said today it expects around £21bn of direct investment in commercial real estate in the UK by the end of this year which is down 55% on last year’s total.

Julian Stocks, JLL’s head of capital markets, England, said: ‘We are back at 2000 trading levels. Some prices have fallen up to 50% since the peak in 2007. The first few months of 2009 may see further price reductions as rents fall, however, later next year conditions could change.

'We are seeing signs of increased lending and the gap between property yields and interest rates is already proving attractive to some.’

The property services firm said that commercial property transaction volumes in the UK have reduced significantly across all sectors as the UK market continues to be affected by the ongoing financial crisis and poor market sentiment.

Large lot size transactions, principally central London offices and shopping centres, remain limited due to the lack of availability of debt. Since Lehman Brother’s collapse and the events of October there have only been two significant shopping centre transactions in the UK and around £500m of central London office transactions.

Stocks said: ‘While it is difficult to put a number on 2009 volumes, we expect them to be broadly similar to 2008 but back-weighted

'The market should start functioning more normally towards the middle of next year as pricing adjusts to levels that tempts buyers back and particularly if debt becomes more available again.’

He predicted that the correction in UK prices combined with a weaker pound will make the market more attractive in relative terms to non-UK and global investors and Singapore and Japanese investors are already becoming active.