LONDON, Nov 2 Reuters) - Germany overtook the UK as Europe's largest retail property investment market in the third quarter of this year, with investors shying from Britain's weak economic growth forecasts and falling consumer spending, research showed.

Property consultant CBRE said on Tuesday that Germany saw 2.3 billion euros (1.9 billion pounds) of retail investment in third-quarter 2011, against the UK's 1.8 billion euros. The two account for 51 percent of the European market.

Germany is attracting strong demand from international investors, but also increasingly from local players, who in the current uncertain climate are shifting their focus back to their home market, CBRE's Associate Director for EMEA Research, Iryna Pylypchuk, said in a research report.

The amount invested in the UK was the country's weakest quarterly investment result since first-quarter 2009, CBRE said, noting investor demand for good quality assets, particularly from international players, remained strong.

Demand for riskier, secondary-grade UK high street and shopping centre assets has been dampened by worries the country will slip back into recession, as it grapples with low economic growth forecasts, weak consumer spending and high unemployment.

CBRE also said retail investment activity in Central and Eastern Europe for the first nine months of 2011 was double that of 2010, noting countries such as Poland and Czech Republic were popular because of their strong fundamentals and higher yields.

Across continental Europe, retail property investment in the third quarter rose 3 percent, from the previous quarter, to 7.8 billion euros, well below the previous six-quarter average of 9.4 billion euros, CBRE said.

(Reporting by Brenda Goh)