This week's $646 million sale of Macquarie Countrywide's holding in a portfolio of US shopping centres could be a sign of things to come as Macquarie Group - the investment bank parent of the under pressure property fund - braces for at least 18 months of economic pain.

As Macquarie Group prepares to update investors next week, analysts, including brokerage Credit Suisse, nominate Macquarie's $23bn property empire - held mostly through its listed funds - as the most likely area to be jettisoned over the next few years.

The Age