The UK-based Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) says the first quarter of the year saw a global rise in distressed property - a property under foreclosure or for sale by its mortgagee. However, RICS added that the pace of growth was slowing.

Commenting on the slowing pace, RICS said, "This may in part reflect the fact that the global economy is continuing to strengthen; in few parts of the world is there a real threat of an extended recessionary environment persisting. However, the more positive mood is presenting new challenges for the commercial real estate market. Central banks are now either thinking about or actually tightening monetary policy to address growing apprehension over inflation."

Of the 25 countries included in RICS' latest report, 15 saw growing levels of distress. The most affected countries were Ireland, Spain and Hungary, while the pace of distress was quickening in Ireland, Spain and the US. RICS said that the mood among property professionals was also downbeat in Italy.

At the other end of the scale, eight countries saw levels of distress fall over the quarter, most markedly in Russia, China and South Africa.

For more information, visit www.rics.org/economics

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