News has slowly emerged over recent months of plans by US pension funds in particular to allocate some of their real estate assets to distressed debt opportunities, in light of the credit crunch. But just open is the market to new investors, and are there the opportunities?

Within the last month, Pennsylvania and Los Angeles CIty have been the latest funds to try and tap into what they hope will either be a demand for debt support or real estate purchase opportunities when owners struggle to refinance existing holdings.

At the same time, Pramerica has published a report suggesting any significant market in this space has yet to surface despite "an undeniable and growing sense of anticipation among investors that US commerical property values are poised to fall and that widespread distress is just around the corner".

Yet, as Pramerica suggests, the deals have yet to surface and officials are warning "...with property market fundamentals still relatively balanced...propspective investors anticipating a repeat of the capital-starved distress in the early 1900s and the deeply-discounted transaction market it produced may be disappointed".

We'd like to know what the wider international real estate market - pension funds, capital owners, consultants and asset managers - thinks, and whether investor demand for opportunities can be fulfilled.

To add your thoughts and contribute to this discussion, email Julie Henderson via