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Nearly one-in-four home sales in 2011 involved a property in some stage of foreclosure, according to new data from Irvine, Calif.-based RealtyTrac. Homes that were either in some stage of foreclosure or bank-owned accounted for 24% of all U.S. residential sales during the fourth quarter of 2011. This figure is up from 20% of all sales in the previous quarter, but down from 26% of all sales in the fourth quarter of 2010.

Third parties purchased a total of 204,080 residential properties in some stage of pre-foreclosure or bank-owned during the fourth quarter, down 8% from a revised third-quarter total and down 2% from the fourth quarter of 2010. That brought total foreclosure-related sales in 2011 to 907,138, down 2% from 2010 and accounting for 23% of all sales during the year.

The average sales price of homes in foreclosure or bank-owned was $164,944 in the fourth quarter, nearly identical to the average foreclosure-related sales price in the previous quarter and down 5% from the fourth quarter of 2010. The average price of a foreclosure-related sale was 29% below the average price of a non-foreclosure sale during the quarter, down from a 34% foreclosure discount in the third quarter and down from a 35% foreclosure discount in the fourth quarter of 2010.

Third parties purchased a total of 88,303 pre-foreclosure homes - in default or scheduled for auction - during the fourth quarter, a decrease of 5% from the previous quarter but up 15% from the fourth quarter of 2010. Pre-foreclosure sales accounted for 10% of all sales during the fourth quarter and 9% of all sales in 2011.

Third parties purchased a total of 115,777 bank-owned homes in the fourth quarter, down 10% from the previous quarter and down 12% from the fourth quarter of 2010. These transactions accounted for 13% of all sales during the fourth quarter and 14% of all sales in 2011.

Foreclosure sales accounted for 56% of all residential sales in Nevada in the fourth quarter, the highest percentage of any state. California foreclosure-related sales accounted for 43% of the state’s total residential property sales in the fourth quarter.

"Sales of foreclosures in the fourth quarter continued to be slowed by questions surrounding proper foreclosure paperwork and procedures," says Brandon Moore, CEO of RealtyTrac. "Even so, foreclosures accounted for nearly one in every four sales during the quarter and for the entire year. We expect to see foreclosure-related sales increase in 2012, particularly pre-foreclosure sales, as lenders start to more aggressively dispose of distressed assets held up by the mortgage servicing gridlock over the past 18 months."


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