Investors believe financing and buyer interest in "second-tier" commercial real estate markets remains limited, according to a new survey from PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Respondents told the accounting firm that until they see signs of "uniform patterns of stability" in the market, investment opportunities will be highly bifurcated with little attention paid to offerings with vacancy issues that don't deliver sought after gains in value.

But there was some good news in the survey: commercial investors said financing for properties has become more readily available for the right borrower seeking quality assets.

The economy is blamed for the lack of quality buying opportunities that many CRE investors feel should have materialized by now. Among the concerns is the large amount of CRE debt that comes due in 2011 and 2012.

Troubled sales accounted for just 25% to 30% of the market with lenders more willing to extend existing loans than take back assets along with special servicers providing greater flexibility in modifying loans in lieu of forcing defaults.

But, the low percentage of distressed asset deals is also being attributed to buyers steering clear of what they consider to be "junk" and focusing only on core assets.

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