One proxy for the overall health of the commercial real estate sector is the volume of deals that brokerage firms are involved with on an annual basis.

As a result, NREI’s annual ranking of the largest firms not only shows their pecking order, but illustrates year-over-year gains in volumes. It also shows how activity overall is growing while capturing the trend of the largest brokerage firms to increase market share, through both organic growth and absorption of competitors.

In that regard, CBRE Group, which again tops our rankings, reported that the global total volume of its investment sales and leasing transactions rose 24.1 percent from $128.1 billion in 2010 to $159.0 billion in 2011.

Similarly, Jones Lang LaSalle, which finished second on our list, reported a 46.8 percent rise in volumes from $67.2 billion in 2010 to $98.6 billion in 2011. And Cushman & Wakefield posted a 32.6 percent rise from $66.8 billion in 2010 to $88.6 billion in 2011.

Those results are repeated throughout much of the list. Most of the firms that provided us data last year and this year show year-over-year gains of varying magnitudes. In fact, every firm in the top 10 increased its volume from last year. Of particular note, Eastdil Secured, which focuses solely on investment sales, saw its global volume increase a whopping 109 percent from $22 billion in 2010 to $46.1 billion in 2011.

One thing that is not reflected in these rankings is the recent announcement that BGC Partners had agreed to acquire nearly all of Grubb & Ellis Co.’s holdings. BGC also owns Newmark Knight Frank. The volumes from the two firms are listed separately on the following pages, since the deal with Grubb & Ellis had not yet closed at press time. NREI republishes the Top Brokers list in our Best of the Best issue later this year. At that stage, we will revisit whether to adjust the rankings.

To be ranked, firms filled out an online form that was distributed via email and publicized on our Web site and through our various e-newsletters. Firms are ranked based on the total dollar value of leasing transactions and investment sales transactions globally in 2011. If you have any issues regarding the ranking or additions to it, please do not hesitate to contact me at

To view the Top 25 Rankings, click here.