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NEW YORK CITY-The good new is that the industry is seeing a decrease in volume of distressed assets on the landscape. The bad news is that there’s still a whole lot of distress out there.

The total number of distressed properties increased just 1% in September, the slowest rise seen so far this year, according to research firm Real Capital Analytics. However, that 1% still accounts for $5 billion of assets, bringing commercial real estate’s total to a monstrous $138.2 billion.

Says RCA’s report: “The apparent slowdown does not mean that a peak has been reached; monthly volume can fluctuate in the event of a corporate-level bankruptcy or the failure of a large asset portfolio.”

In the third quarter, the hotel sector recorded the highest percentage of new outstanding distress, rising 54% over the second quarter, bringing its total to $28 billion. On the flipside, multifamily saw a 2% decrease in distress in September, though there was a moderate increase in the third quarter. Total distress in that sector is $22.1 billion.

Retail’s Q3 distress was up 7%, slowing from prior periods. One good development in the sector, with total distress at $35 billion, was the recent sale of a portion of the Flatiron Crossing mall outside of Denver, valuing that property at $350 million.

The best picture might be in the office sector. Though its total distress is at $21.9 billion, sales of distressed office assets reached $4.8 billion in the third quarter, higher than any of the other property types. Industrial has the lowest amount of overall distress, at $4.4 billion.

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