Asia Pacific has replaced Europe as the region with the largest stock of commercial real estate held by investors – driven by strong investment growth in China – according to DTZ.

The value of “global invested stock” – defined by DTZ as real estate assets owned by investors – reached $12.9tn last year, according to the advisory’s Money into Property report, with growth in all three regions. The global increase was caused by growth in both equity and debt, rising by 9% and 3% respectively.

Asia-Pacific’s stock rose 9% to $4.6trn (€3.4trn). With little growth in European invested stock (€3.3trn) last year, Asia is for the first time the largest region globally.

DTZ said levels of debt in China were less of an issue than imagined but it was  “concerned”, highlighting the country’s strong development pipeline.

Modest depreciation of the dollar against European economies led to marginally weaker growth (1.6%) across Europe, DTZ said, with the opposite scenario for the Asia-Pacific region.

Stock in the region grew 17% in local currency terms, driven by appreciation of the US dollar against Yen and Australian dollar.

“Currency movements continue to impact the value of stock,” DTZ said.

Growth was recorded across all four debt-equity and public-private quadrants for the first time since the onset of the global financial crisis.

Europe, however, is still suffering from bank deleveraging. Gearing levels continue to come down in each region. In a separate survey of investors and lenders, DTZ found improved sentiment.

“Lenders are much more optimistic, as they have become less risk averse with the workout of most prime legacy loans nearing the end,” the agent said.

Global transaction volumes have recovered to near-2006 levels, rising 22% to $518bn as a result of a rise in volumes transacted by cross border investors. However, the figure is still below the $800bn recorded in 2007.