IPD's index of U.S. property showed that commercial real estate delivered total returns of 14.2 percent in 2010--the third highest figure in the 11 years IPD has been monitoring the sector.

The gain was in stark contrast to 2009, when commercial property total returns were -18.9 percent.

Capital return and income return both amounted to 6.9 percent for the year. In 2009, income return was 6.5 percent while capital return was -18.9 percent.