Distress is piling up in the multifamily market, but it’s still not as bad as the other real estate sectors, according to the most recent Troubled Assets Radar from Real Capital Analytics (RCA), a New York-based research firm that tracks commercial real estate. According to the report, which measures assets in default, foreclosure, or bankruptcy, as of June 2009, 588 apartment communities, totaling $8.1 billion, fell into distress this year. Overall, 1,133 apartment communities, totaling $17.7 billion, were in trouble across the country.

Those numbers don’t surprise Debbie Corson, a principal at Atlanta-based Apartment Realty Advisors. “We’re getting a lot of calls and doing a lot of opinions of values for lenders, special servicers, and owners who are trying to figure out where the market is and what the value of these assets are,” she says.

Apartments ranked third behind retail and development sites in total troubled assets, and so far this year, retail ($17.8 billion); hotel ($11.8 billion); office ($8.9 billion); and commercial development sites ($8.6 billion) gained more distressed assets than the apartment market.

Anyone who is following the industry knows there’s one simple reason for this—the financial assistance from Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Housing Administration. “Multifamily hasn’t had the same liquidity issues as the other asset types,” says Dan Fasulo, managing director for RCA. “On a relative basis, I see a lot more trouble in other property sectors.”