To summarize conditions in global real estate markets, we've posted slides in the Investor Relations section of our website, joneslanglasalle.com. Slide 3 shows the Jones Lang LaSalle investment sales clock, which depicts capital values in major world markets at different stages of the real estate cycle. Global investment volumes reached $108 billion for the second quarter, up 24% from $87 billion in the first quarter of the year, with all 3 regions seeing a seasonal rise in transactional activity.
Year-on-year, however, second quarter volumes were down 9% of the Americas and 7% in Europe. Asia Pacific volumes increased by 30% year-on-year, led by Japan, where investment sales activity was up by nearly 300% of a back of a recovery from the March 2011 tsunami. For the first half of 2012, however, Asia Pacific volumes were flat year-on-year.
Capital values on prime assets rose across 25 major office markets and increased at an annualized rate of 5.4% at the end of the second quarter. Rates of annual capital value growth have been gradually slowing from 18.1% 1 year ago, to 12.6% 6 months ago, and 7.7% 3 months ago. We believe that by the end of 2012, year-on-year capital value growth will be in the region of 3% to 4%.
Turning to Slide 4, we see a picture of conditions in leasing markets worldwide. Office leasing activity improved in all regions during the second quarter compared to the first, but year-on-year, second quarter volumes were 11% lower in the U.S. and down 14% in Europe. Our second quarter leasing revenues increased 9% year-on-year in the U.S. and 10% in Europe increasing -- indicating continued market share gains.Office vacancy rates continued to decline, the global office vacancy rate across 94 world markets now stands at 13.3%, down from 14% a year ago. Regional vacancy rates range from 16.2% in the Americas, to 9.8% in Europe, and 10.4% across Asia Pacific. The sharpest fall in vacancy were recorded in BRIC markets, Beijing, Moscow and São Paulo. Prime rents across 25 major office markets increased by 0.4%, a marginal increase on the first quarter's 0.1% growth. Beijing continued to show the strongest quarter-on-quarter rental growth at 8.8% while San Francisco with 6.8% led North American markets. Modest growth was recorded in Tokyo, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Tokyo. By contrast Hong Kong and Singapore continued to register rental declines and rents also fell in Washington D.C., Madrid, Paris and São Paulo. Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com