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US, Japan to see biggest rise in distressed assets

By Reuters

The United States and Japan are expected to see the biggest rise in distressed property sales in the first quarter, as the fallout from the global property downturn intensifies, the results of a survey yesterday.

By contrast, respondents in Brazil, India, Hong Kong and Australia are more optimistic and expect fewer distressed property listings, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), which surveyed 430 of its members in 25 countries, said.

RICS, which last polled its members in the final quarter of 2009, defines distressed properties as those with a foreclosure order or are advertised for sale by their mortgagee, and which tend to fetch a lower price than their market value.

It said the net balance of 85 per cent more respondents in the United States polled during the fourth quarter expect distressed property sales to rise in the first three months of 2010, compared with about 68 per cent in the third quarter.

The turnaround was even more distinct in Japan, where the net balance of respondents predicting an increase in distressed sales this quarter jumped from 12 per cent in the third quarter of 2009 poll, to 80 per cent in the fourth quarter poll.

Rounding out the top five markets expected to be worst hit by distressed sales this quarter are Ireland, Scandinavia and Spain, the survey showed.

"It is the major real estate markets of the world, namely the United States and Japan, where agents expect the strongest growth in distressed sales in the first quarter of 2010," said Oliver Gilmartin, RICS senior economist.

RICS also asked its members whether the levels of interest from specialist funds that buy distressed properties was rising, finding that 21 out of 25 countries saw increased interest, with interest in Spain, Ireland, UK, and US rising at a faster pace.


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