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Foreclosure Sales in Q1 = 158,434

""RealtyTrac"":http://www.realtytrac.com has released a new report detailing foreclosure sales activity during the first quarter. Altogether, third parties purchased a total of 158,434 bank-owned and short sale homes during the first three months of this year.

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That's down 16 percent from the previous quarter's total and down 36 percent from the first quarter of 2010.

The tracking firm's study shows that REOs sold at an average discount of 35 percent compared to the price of homes not in foreclosure, while short sale properties carried an average mark-down of nearly 9 percent.

RealtyTrac tallies sales to third parties of homes in the foreclosure process that went as short sales prior to the completion of foreclosure, as well as homes that were foreclosed and went back to the bank and were subsequently sold as REO. It does not include property transfers from the owner in default to the foreclosing bank or lender.

The company's study shows that REOs which sold in the first quarter had been repossessed by the bank an average of 176 days prior to the sale, while properties that sold in the earlier stages as a short sale were in foreclosure an average of 228 days before selling.

RealtyTrac says sales of bank-owned homes and those in some stage of foreclosure accounted for 28 percent of all U.S. residential sales in the first quarter of 2011, the highest percentage since the first quarter of 2010. But the

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fact that the total number of properties sold -- 158,434 â€" is down more than a third from the tally a year ago illustrates just how far overall home sales have slid in recent months.

""While foreclosure sales continue to account for an unusually high percentage of all residential home sales, sales volume is well off the peak we saw in the first quarter of 2009, when nearly 350,000 foreclosure properties sold to third parties,"" said James J. Saccacio, RealtyTrac's CEO.

""While this is probably helping to keep home prices relatively stable,"" Saccacio continued, ""it is also delaying the housing recovery. At the first quarter foreclosure sales pace, it would take exactly three years to clear the current inventory of 1.9 million properties already on the banks' books, or in foreclosure.""

The nation's foreclosure hotspot, Nevada, had the highest percentage of foreclosure sales during the first quarter at 53 percent of all the state's residential sales. There, the sales timeline for these distressed properties was shorter than the national average. REO properties had been on the bank's books an average of 130 days prior to sale, while short sale properties were in foreclosure an average of 135 days before they were sold.

In both California and Arizona, foreclosure sales accounted for 45 percent of all residential home sales during the first quarter. In these states, too, the sales timeline was shorter than the national average.

Other states where foreclosure sales accounted for at least one-quarter of all sales were Idaho (33 percent), Florida (32 percent), Michigan (32 percent), Oregon (32 percent), Virginia (30 percent), Colorado (30 percent), Illinois (29 percent), Georgia (27 percent), and Ohio (25 percent).

Ohio foreclosures â€" including REOs and short sales â€" carried the biggest discount of any state at 41 percent (47 percent for REOs and 21 percent for short sales).

Other states with average foreclosure discounts among the highest in the nation were Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, and Louisiana.

About Author: Carrie Bay

Carrie Bay is a freelance writer for DS News and its sister publication MReport. She served as online editor for DSNews.com from 2008 through 2011. Prior to joining DS News and the Five Star organization, she managed public relations, marketing, and media relations initiatives for several B2B companies in the financial services, technology, and telecommunications industries. She also wrote for retail and nonprofit organizations upon graduating from Texas A&M University with degrees in journalism and English.
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