The lagging market for commercial mortgage-backed securities and the diminishing popularity of real estate investment trusts have slowed sales of hotel properties and threaten to touch off a selling spree of pricey hotels and resorts, according to a report from Atlas Hospitality Group, which brokers hotel deals,.

Nearly 50 fewer hotels were sold in California during the first half of the year compared with the same period last year, the report said. At the same time, purchases of hotels by REITs - which had accounted for 24 sales worth a total of $834 million a year ago - fell to just two transactions totaling $18.5 million in the recent six-month period.

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