Christie + Co saw property deals in hotels, pubs, restaurants and other areas increase 32% in 2010 compared to the previous year.
The year also saw the the biggest operators in hospitality step up thier disposal programmes. Christie + Co said 44% of the businesses it sold in 2010 were on behalf of corporate operators, compared with 40% in 2009 and just 29% in 2008.
Meanwhile 70% of those who acquired businesses through Christie + Co last year were local buyers who lived within 20 miles of the businesses they bought.
David Rugg, Chairman of Christie + Co, said: "Having acquired significant numbers of businesses while the markets were at their most buoyant, some of the largest operators in our sectors had assembled vast estates that could be shorn of hundreds of assets. Freehold businesses that were previously absorbed by these large estates were brought back to the market, where they have been acquired by smaller groups and private owner operators.
"While the volume of deals transacted last year is still a long way behind the number we completed at the peak of the market, it proves that buyer confidence is returning."
The new analysis is part of Christie + Co's Business Outlook 2011 publication, which includes a comprehensive look back at the issues that affected the company's specialist sectors in 2010, and what key factors will impact these markets in the coming 12 months.
The publication, which will be officially launched on 18 January, will also include the average property value movements for each sector in 2010.