A new study finds that investors are withdrawing capital in the commercial mortgage-backed securities market and that risk-averse real estate investors are flocking to multi-family dwellings to wait out the economic slump.

An analysis by CBRE projects that the multi-family sector should be the least affected by any slowdown caused by the downgrade benefiting from increased investor risk aversion. Still, deal structure will be an issue and riskier opportunities will still be more difficult to transact, the firm said.

"The United States faces multiple challenges including tepid economic growth, gridlock in Washington, and an unsustainable debt trajectory. The main macro-economic effect of the debt crisis will be heightened volatility, particularly in the stock markets, as investors readjust their growth expectations for the world's major economies," CBRE's head of Americas research, Asieh Mansour, said.

The report cautions that there will be less transparency on pricing metrics for real estate assets as valuation metrics may become more difficult to underwrite. Reduced investor confidence will increase demand for core assets in primary markets. Assets further out on the risk spectrum - secondary markets, peripheral locations, value-add plays - will be less desirable until economic uncertainty is reduced.