US-based real estate investment trusts (REITs) have poured USD 24 billion into commercial property in the country over the course of the past 12 months, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The figure is more than triple the level of activity seen the previous year and highlights the increasing confidence that investors are now placing in the market.

Activity is surging as the economy recovers and low interest rates make it cheaper for REITs and private-equity buyers to acquire office, retail, industrial, apartment and health care properties.

It follows a period where the market fell dramatically during the global financial crisis and demand for commercial real estate plunged. Data from Now York-based Real Capital revealed that US commercial property transactions fell 89 per cent to USD 66 billion in 2009 from the peak of USD 579 billion in 2007.

The reported upsurge in interest from REITs in commercial real estate follows news that Blackstone Group has agreed to pay USD 9.4 billion for Centro Properties' 588 shopping centres in the US.