Japan’s real estate investment trusts will accelerate takeovers in the $32bn industry as banks pressure them to consolidate amid a tighter credit market and falling property prices, said Curtis Freeze, who agreed to sell his REIT to a unit of Oaktree Capital Management.

The number of Japanese REITs may fall by half to about 20 in the next year as the funds seek merger partners to counter falling demand and tighter loan terms, Freeze, chairman of Honolulu-based Prospect Asset Management, said.

Japan’s 37-member TSE REIT Index has lost 58% from its peak in May 2007 as the global credit crisis made it harder for them to refinance loans and acquire capital to purchase properties.