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Foreclosure, Short Sales are 43% of U.S. Home Sales in 2012

Foreclosure-related sales and nonforeclosure short sales accounted for 43% of all U.S. residential sales last year, according to market researcher RealtyTrac.

A total of 947,995 U.S. properties in some stage of foreclosure or bank-owned repossessions were sold during the year, down 6% from 2011 and down 11% from 2010, RealtyTrac reported. These foreclosure-related sales represented 21% of U.S. residential sales during the year, compared with 23% of all sales in 2011 and 28% of all sales in 2010.

Properties not in foreclosure that sold as short sales in 2012 made up an estimated 22% of all residential sales.

"Although foreclosure-related sales represent a shrinking share of total sales, primarily because of fewer bank-owned purchases, distressed sales are still a disproportionately high portion of the overall housing market," said RealtyTrac Vice President Daren Blomquist. "And while distressed properties--whether bank-owned, pre-foreclosure or short sales not in foreclosure--are still selling at a significant discount compared to non-distressed properties, average distressed property prices are increasing in many markets thanks to strong demand and limited inventory."

The report also found that third parties purchased 449,873 residential properties that were in default or scheduled for auction last year. These preforeclosure sales represented a 6% increase from 2011 and nearly matched 2010's record level.

Third parties purchased 498,122 bank-owned residential properties in 2012, down 15% from the prior year and down 19% from 2010.

California had the highest percentage of foreclosure sales of any state last year, with foreclosure sales representing more than 38% of the state's residential sales in 2012. Georgia and Nevada also had high percentages of foreclosure sales. Foreclosure-related sales accounted for nearly 38% of all sales in both states last year.

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