Investment transaction levels in the North West increased by 27% last year, reaching £3.3bn, but unsurprisingly slowed markedly in the second half as the credit crunch bit, said Lambert Smith Hampton.
An active first half of the year saw £2.3bn of transactions completed. Manchester accounted for the most significant level of investment, with £1.2bn of deals in the city during the year; 36% of total transactions in the North West.
The findings are contained in Lambert Smith Hampton's UK Investment Transactions Annual Market Report 2007.
The retail sector accounted for 49% of activity in the North West, with shopping centres and retail warehouses accounting for 86% of retail activity.
The report said that "the key deals in the region exemplified the regional trend for overseas investors buying into key schemes."
Total overseas investment into the North West was £1.2bn, with net investment of £1bn.
Nationally, the dominant role of institutional investors in the commercial property investment market has fallen from 70% of purchases in 2001 to just 25% of market activity recorded in 2007.
Stephen Hamer, head of investment agency at LSH Manchester, said: "The pre-eminence of institutional investors in the market place has been softening for some time, giving other types of investor a greater opportunity to buy into the market place."
Hamer added: "We see the current climate as a potentially opportunistic time to buy," says Mr Hamer, "providing investors stick to fundamentals. Those buyers who have immediate cash resources will see the best value."