The past year has been a very good one for many of the nation's top brokerages. Revenues rose substantially at several brokerage firms as the commercial real estate industry regained its footing in the wake of the Great Recession.

At the No. 1 brokerage, Los Angeles-based CB Richard Ellis Group, global investment sales and leasing transactions rose from $97.2 billion the previous year to $128.1 billion in 2010.

Leasing activity in particular has been a powerhouse at CBRE, with leasing revenue growing by 35% in the fourth quarter of 2010 compared with the same period in 2009.

The company arranged the largest office lease in New York City in 2010, the 450,000 sq. ft. headquarters for French investment bank Société Générale. Meanwhile, fourth-quarter sales revenue leapt by 40%.

Back in 1993, CBRE came to a strategic decision that it wanted to grow dramatically. “We were probably a $400 million company in revenues. When we set out in 1993 our goal was to be the first $1 billion revenue firm in the commercial real estate services space,” says Chris Ludeman, president of Americas brokerage and capital markets at CBRE.

“We had a tight grouping of competitors who were all plus or minus the same amount of revenues. But that $1 billion target seemed like an awfully high one, and many felt that that could not be accomplished in our industry.” The firm blew past that goal as it diversified.

In the early 1990s, 100% of the brokerage revenue came from the United States and Canada. Now a third of the revenue comes from Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Asia-Pacific regions. Meanwhile, new services have helped boost revenues. For example, CBRE recently secured $33 million in acquisition financing for a 175,000 sq. ft. Class-A office facility in Parsippany, N.J.

Real estate services firm Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) moved up to No. 2 in this year's rankings. JLL saw a similar spurt in total investment sales and leasing transactions, from $47 billion in 2009 to $67.2 billion in 2010. The capital markets are leading the recovery following a long drought, according to JLL.

The company's 2010 global capital markets volume, including investment sales and debt and equity transactions, rose 65% year over year. U.S. investment sales and debt and equity transactions rose 175% to $11 billion.

The firm is determined to grow, says Jay Koster, managing director of corporate capital markets at JLL. “We have moved aggressively to build an industry-leading Americas capital markets business.”

This ranking is based on responses to NREI's Top Brokerage survey, which was conducted via e-mail in February and March 2011. Brokers were asked to provide the total dollar value of leasing transactions and investment sales globally in 2010. The totals were combined to determine the company's ranking. ONCOR International, No. 12 on last year's survey, chose not to participate.

  1. CB Richard Ellis Group Inc.

    Total amount of investment sales and leasing transactions: $128.1 billion
    11150 Santa Monica Boulevard, Suite 1600
    Los Angeles, CA 90025
    Phone: (310) 405-8900
    Website: www.cbre.com
    Officers: Brett White, Chief Executive Officer; Robert E. Sulentic, President; Gil Borok, Chief Financial Officer

  2. Jones Lang LaSalle

    Total amount of investment sales and leasing transactions: $67.2 billion
    200 East Randolph
    Chicago, IL 60601
    Phone: (312) 782 5800
    Website: www.joneslanglasalle.com
    Officers: Colin Dyer, President and Chief Executive Officer; Lauralee Martin, Chief Financial Officer

  3. Cushman & Wakefield

    Total amount of investment sales and leasing transactions: $66.8 billion
    1290 Avenue of the Americas
    New York, NY 10019
    Phone: (212) 841.7500
    Website: www.cushmanwakefield.com
    Officers: Glenn Rufrano, President and Chief Executive Officer

  4. Colliers International

    Total amount of investment sales and leasing transactions: $59.6 billion
    601 Union Street, Suite 4800
    Seattle, WA 98101
    Phone: (206) 695 4200
    Website: www.colliers.com
    Officers: Doug Frye, Global President and Chief Executive Officer; Peter Humphries, Global CFO; Dylan Taylor, U.S. Chief Executive Officer

  5. NAI Global

    Total amount of investment sales and leasing transactions: $45 billion
    4 Independence Way
    Princeton, NJ 8540
    Phone: (609) 945-4000
    Website: www.naiglobal.com
    Officers: Jeffrey M. Finn, President and Chief Executive Officer; Edward Finn, Chief Operating Officer; David Blanchard, Executive Vice President

  6. Studley Inc.

    Total amount of investment sales and leasing transactions: $43.7 billion
    399 Park Ave. 11th Floor
    New York, NY 10022
    Phone: (212) 326-1000
    Website: www.studley.com
    Officers: Mitchell S. Steir, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer; Michael D. Colacino, President

  7. Newmark Knight Frank

    Total amount of investment sales and leasing transactions: $41.6 billion
    125 Park Avenue
    New York, NY 10017
    Phone: (212) 372-2000
    Website: www.newmarkkf.com
    Officers: Jeffrey R. Gural, Chairman; Barry M. Gosin, Chief Executive Officer; James D. Kuhn, President

  8. Eastdil Secured LLC

    Total amount of investment sales and leasing transactions: $22 billion
    40 West 57th St., 22nd Floor
    New York, NY 10019
    Phone: (212) 315-7200
    Website: www.eastdilsecured.com
    Officers: Benjamin Lambert, Chairman; Roy March, Chief Executive Officer; Michael Van Konynenburg, President

  9. TCN Worldwide

    Total amount of investment sales and leasing transactions: $21.6 billion
    400 Chisholm Place, Suite 104
    Plano, Texas 75075
    Phone: (972) 769-8701
    Website: www.tcnworldwide.com
    Officers: Ross Ford, President and Chief Executive Officer; Larry Elbaum, Chairman; Ford Price Jr., Vice Chairman

  10. Cassidy Turley

    Total amount of investment sales and leasing transactions: $17 billion
    7700 Forsyth Boulevard, Suite 900
    St. Louis, MO 63105
    Phone: (314) 862-7100
    Website: www.cassidyturley.com
    Officers: Mark Burkhart, Chief Executive Officer; Joseph Stettinius, President; John Fleury, Chief Operating Officer

  11. CORFAC International (Corporate Facility Advisors)

    Total amount of investment sales and leasing transactions: $15.9 billion
    Suite 101 - 1930 Harrison Street
    Hollywood, FL 33020
    Phone: (954) 923-6160
    Website: www.corfac.com
    Officers: Charles Sevier, President; Douglas Marshall, Vice Presdient; Thomas P. Bennett, Executive Director

  12. Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services

    Total amount of investment sales and leasing transactions: $13.6 billion
    First Financial Plaza, 16830 Ventura Blvd., Suite 100
    Encino, CA 91436
    Phone: (818) 212-2700
    Website: www.MarcusMillichap.com
    Officers: George M. Marcus, Chaiman; John J. Kerin, President and Chief Executive Officer; William E. Hughes, Senior Vice President and Managing Director, Marcus & Millichap Capital Corp.

  13. Grubb & Ellis

    Total amount of investment sales and leasing transactions: $12.1 billion
    1551 N. Tustin Ave, Suite 200
    Santa Ana, CA 92705
    Phone: (714) 667-8252
    Website: www.grubb-ellis.com
    Officers: Thomas P. D'Arcy, President and Chief Executive Officer; Michael J. Rispoli, Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer; Jack Van Berkel, President, Real Estate Services

  14. CresaPartners

    Total amount of investment sales and leasing transactions: $8 billion
    200 State Street, 13th Floor
    Boston, MA 2109
    Phone: (617) 758-6000
    Website: www.cresapartners.com
    Officers: Bill Goade, Chief Executive Officer; Phillip Infelise, Chairman

  15. HFF

    Total amount of investment sales and leasing transactions: $7.6 billion
    9 Greenway Plaza, Suite 700
    Houston, TX 77046
    Phone: (713) 852-3500
    Website: www.hfflp.com
    Officers: John H. Pelusi Jr., Executive Managing Director ; Mark D. Gibson, Executive Managing Director; Joe B. Thornton, Executive Managing Director

  16. RE/MAX Commercial

    Total amount of investment sales and leasing transactions: $5.1 billion
    5075 S. Syracuse St.
    Denver, Colorado 80237
    Phone: (303) 770-5531
    Website: remaxcommercial.com
    Officers: Dave Liniger, Chairman of the Board; Margaret Kelly, Chief Executive Officer; Vinnie Tracey, President

  17. Coldwell Banker Commercial

    Total amount of investment sales and leasing transactions: $5 billion
    1 Campus Drive
    Parsippany, NJ 7054
    Phone: (800) 222-2162
    Website: www.cbcworldwide.comOfficers: Fred Schmidt, President and Chief Operating Officer; Vik Bangia, Senior Vice President, Global Client Solutions; Obie Walli, Vice President, Operations

  18. Sperry Van Ness

    Total amount of investment sales and leasing transactions: $4.6 billion
    18881 Von Karman Ave, Suite 760
    Irvine, CA 92612
    Phone: (888) 311-0605
    Website: www.svn.com
    Officers: Kevin Maggiacomo, Chief Executive Officer; George Slusser, Chief Operating Officer; Denise Mills, Chief Financial Officer

  19. Lee & Associates Real Estate Services

    Total amount of investment sales and leasing transactions: $4.4 billion
    515 South Flower Street, 36th Floor
    Los Angeles, CA 90071
    Phone: (213) 623-1305
    Website: http://www.lee-associates.com
    Officers: Edward J. Indvik, Chairman of the Lee Advisory Board; Jim Watkins, Member of the Lee Advisory Board; Jon Savoy, Member of the Lee Advisory Board

  20. Transwestern

    Total amount of investment sales and leasing transactions: $4.2 billion
    1900 West Loop South, Suite 1300
    Houston, TX 77027
    Phone: (713) 270-7700
    Website: www.transwestern.net
    Officers: Robert Duncan, Founder and Chairman; Larry P. Heard, President and Chief Executive Officer; Mark Doran, Chief Operating Officer

  21. Apartment Realty Advisors (ARA)

    Total amount of investment sales and leasing transactions: $3.4 billion
    6445 Powers Ferry Road, Suite 300
    Atlanta, GA 30339
    Phone: (678) 553-9360
    Website: www.arausa.com
    Officers: Gary Kachadurian, Chairman; Blake Okland, President; Lisa Robinson, Chief Operating Officer

  22. Avison Young

    Total amount of investment sales and leasing transactions: $2.8 billion
    150 York Street, Suite 900
    Toronto, ON M5H 3S5
    Phone: (416) 955-0000
    Website: www.avisonyoung.comOfficers: Mark E. Rose, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer; Earl Webb, President, U.S. Operations; Rob Ishoj, Chief Financial Officer

  23. Hodges Ward Elliott, Inc.

    Total amount of investment sales and leasing transactions: $2.3 billion
    3344 Peachtree Road, 25th Floor
    Atlanta, GA 30326
    Phone: (404) 233-6000
    Website: HWEHotels.com
    Officers: William M. Hodges, President; Mark W. Elliott, CEO; James L. Patrick, CPA, CFO, COO

  24. PM Realty Group

    Total amount of investment sales and leasing transactions: $2.1 billion
    1000 Main Street, Suite 2400
    Houston, Texas 77002
    Phone: (713) 209-5800
    Website: pmrg.com
    Officers: Rick V. Kirk, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer; Jimmy C. Gunn, President, Property Services; William Roger Gregory, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

  25. Molinaro Koger

    Total amount of investment sales and leasing transactions: $1.9 billion
    8000 Towers Crescent Drive
    Vienna, VA 22182
    Phone: (703) 760-9600
    Website: www.mkhotels.com
    Officers: David Altobello, Senior Vice President; Jose Alvarez, Managing Director; William Stadler, Managing Director