RealtyTrac, an online marketplace for foreclosure properties, Thursday said foreclosure homes accounted for 26 percent of U.S. residential sales in the first quarter, up slightly from last year as well as the previous quarter.
According to RealtyTrac, lenders are approving more aggressively priced short sales, which in turn is leading to more successful short sale transactions.
Releasing its Foreclosure Sales Report for the quarter, the market researcher said sales of homes that were in some stage of foreclosure or bank owned accounted for 26 percent of all U.S. residential sales during the quarter, up from 25 percent in the previous year and 22 percent in the fourth quarter.
Brandon Moore, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac, said, "Foreclosure-related sales picked up in the first quarter, particularly pre-foreclosure sales where a distressed homeowner is selling to avoid foreclosure -- typically via short sale. Those pre-foreclosure sales hit a three-year high in the first quarter even as the average pre-foreclosure sales price dropped to a record low for our report."
Third parties purchased 233,299 residential properties in some stage of pre-foreclosure, which included defaults and scheduled foreclosure auctions, or bank-owned, also known as real-estate-owned or REO. This is virtually unchanged from the first quarter of 2011, but is an increase of 8 percent from the previous quarter.
The average sales price of homes in foreclosure or bank owned was $161,214, down 2 percent from last year and down 1 percent from the previous quarter. Average sales price was 27 percent below the average sales price of homes not in foreclosure or bank-owned during the quarter.
RealtyTrac added that the average price of a bank-owned home is stabilizing. It is even increasing in some areas where a slowdown in REO activity over the past year has resulted in a restricted supply of available REO homes.
Yet, REO sales increased on a quarterly basis in 21 states, indicating that lenders are still working through a bottleneck of unsold REO inventory in many areas.
Pre-foreclosure sales increased 25 percent from a year ago. The increase was 16 percent from the previous quarter. REO sales decreased 15 percent from last year but rose 2 percent from the prior quarter.
Pre-foreclosure homes, often sold via short sale, sold for an average price of $175,461 in the quarter, down 10 percent from the first quarter of 2011 and down 4 percent from the previous quarter.
Foreclosure sales accounted for 56 percent of residential sales in Nevada, representing the highest percentage of any state. California and Georgia came in second and third, with foreclosure sales accounting for 47 percent and 46 percent, respectively.
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by RTT Staff Writer
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