The imminent arrival of two big buyers for distressed mortgages — the Treasury Department and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. — is having little or no effect on prices.

If anything, prices for some types of "scratch and dent" loans have continued to fall, market participants said, because the cost of maintaining the assets keeps rising. State and local ordinances restricting foreclosures, and the continued drop in real estate prices in hard-hit states like Florida and California, have made it harder to profit from buying these loans, even at steep discounts.

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