European loan portfolio sales could top €100bn ($111.5bn) this year, according to PwC, with real estate loan sales remaining popular.

PwC said €59bn of loan sales had either been completed or were in progress at the end of the first quarter of 2015. 

Of the €39bn of portfolio transactions in progress in European markets, more than half were in commercial real estate and mainly in the UK, Germany and the Netherlands.

Around €10bn of completed transactions were in the UK and Ireland, with the remainder in Germany and the Netherlands.

Italy, Greece and Central and Eastern Europe were predicted by PwC to experience more transactional activity this year.

In a report, Richard Thompson, chairman of PwC’s European portfolio advisory group, said: “The signs are good for another busy year in the transaction market.

“Investors (are) venturing into less mature European markets in search of higher rates of return than can be achieved compared with the very competitive markets of the UK, Spain and Ireland.”

With investors beginning to focus on less mature portfolio markets, banks are predicted by PwC to begin to come under increasing pressure to deleverage their balance sheets as increased competition on portfolio transactions narrows the bid-ask gap, which has so far been a barrier.