Direct investments in European commercial real estate fell 42 percent in the first half of 2009, compared with the final six months of 2008, with buyers held back by a lack of bank lending, a report said on Friday.

Investment sales in Jan-June fell to 24 billion euros ($33 billion), although levels in the second quarter were similar to the first three months of 2009, indicating the market may have hit a bottom, property agency Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) said. We believe the European market has now reached a floor in transaction volumes and based upon investor interest we would expect an increase in turnover in the second half of this year, JLL (JLL.N) head of European capital markets Tony Horrell said. With debt markets still restricted, most purchases this year were conducted by high net worth individuals and other buyers with ready cash, while most larger deals had to be financed through vendor loans or stapled debt, he said. [ID:nLU870918]

The UK remained the largest market in Europe with 8 billion euros of investment sales, equating to 35 percent of total volumes in the first six months of 2009, followed by Germany with 3.4 billion euros in sales, JLL said. (Reporting by Daryl Loo; Editing by Andrew Macdonald) (See for the global service for real estate professionals from Reuters)