The level of distressed properties coming to the market is continuing to increase, but the pace at which it is doing so is tempering, according to the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Global Distressed Property Monitor for the first quarter of 2011. Of the 25 countries included in the report, 15 reported growing levels of distress. Indeed some countries reported distressed activity increasing at a faster pace over the quarter, most notably in the Republic of Ireland, South Africa, Spain and the US. Countries where distressed property coming to the market fell at the fastest pace were Poland, Russia, Canada and Brazil. The level of distressed property coming to the market in the UK rose during the quarter. Looking ahead to Q2 2011, property professionals in the UK continue to remain pessimistic and indicated that more distressed properties will come to market, although at a slower pace. The survey also suggests that lenders are becoming less lenient with borrowers, as 13 countries reported that the speed at which lenders start foreclosing has increased. This is up from 10 in Q4 of last year, with the UK and US expecting greater levels of foreclosure. Simon Rubinsohn, RICS chief economist, said: "As the global economy continues to strengthen, central banks must begin to address the spectre of rising inflation; a threat which is compounded in some markets by the continuing European sovereign debt crisis. As a result, many central banks have either already tightened, or are thinking of tightening monetary policy; a step which brings new challenges for the commercial real estate market. Consequently, the distressed property forecast remains overcast."

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