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Distressed commercial property could set new record in 2009

But the loans coming due this year in the face of a global credit freeze could dwarf the current $82 billion of troubled and foreclosed property, according to the report by real estate research firm Real Capital Analytics.

Borrowers face globally constrained credit markets that may make it near impossible to refinance the large mortgages coming due. They also face falling property values in many parts of the developed world.

The credit crisis helped drive down commercial real estate sales in 2008 by 58% to $504 billion globally, the report also said. Hotel sales declined the sharpest, down 75% globally.

Analysts point out that it is difficult to calculate the value of potentially troubled property but about $170 billion of US commercial mortgages are expected to come due this year along with $36 billion in Britain and $12.7 billion in Japan.

More than 40% of the troubled or foreclosed loans are associated with some phase of property development, in which financing is usually monthly. In many cases, it is the lender that has failed, the report said.

The top 25 distressed properties hail from around the globe, from Bucharest to Beverly Hills.

In the largest individual soured deal, Deutsche foreclosed on the site of developer Bruce Eichner's Cosmopolitan Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, according to the report.

General Growth Properties Inc, the number two US mall operator, which has warned that it could file for bankruptcy protection, leads the way among distressed real estate companies, the report added.