German investors have pumped $151bn (€120bn) into international real estate since 2004, according to new research by JLL.

The advisory firm said that Germans were the most active and important source of cross-border capital between 2004 and the mid-point of this year.

The $151bn invested by German groups eclipsed capital outflows from North America ($133bn) and the UK ($100bn).

JLL expects the trend to continue. The firm’s head of international capital, Matt Richards, said: “Despite being challenged by Norwegian, Chinese and Canadian investors, with their established presence in many global property markets, we anticipate German investors will maintain their international investment focus.”

Despite German’s widespread investment in over 40 countries, 82% of their outbound investment was in mature markets in Western Europe and North America. The majority (80%) of German capital targeted core office properties, with retail investment accounting for 13%.

At home, German investors also dominated their local market. German capital has accounted for 52% of real estate investment since 2004.

According to data collected from €1.3bn of office transactions above €100m in the past 18 months, 65% of purchasers were domestic and 72% of under-bidders were cross-border investors from US, South Korea, UK, China, Czech Republic, Canada and France. Underbids totalled almost €7bn.

JLL said the amount of capital allocated to real estate continues to grow at a global level. Traditional investor groups from Europe and North America, along with newer entrants from Asia and the Middle East, will create more competition as they begin to bid more aggressively. That could see assets which previously might have ended up having domestic owners trade to new buyers, the agent said.