Foreclosure Auction and REO Sales Picked up Pace in October 11/26/2013 By: Ashley R. Harris

RealtyTrac released its October 2013 U.S. Residential and Foreclosure Sales Report, which shows that U.S. residential properties, including single-family homes, condominiums and townhomes, sold at an estimated annualized pace of 5,649,965—a 2 percent increase from the previous month and up 13 percent from October 2012.

Home sales continued to dip on an annualized basis in three bellwether western states despite the nationwide increase for the third consecutive month. California home sales were down 15 percent from a year ago, Arizona fell 13 percent year-over-year, and Nevada was down 5 percent.

The national median sales price of all residential properties—including both distressed and non-distressed sales—was $170,000, unchanged from September but up 6 percent from October 2012. It was the 18th consecutive month median home prices have increased on an annualized basis.

The median price of a distressed residential property—in foreclosure or bank-owned—was $110,000 in October, 41 percent below the median price of $185,000 for a non-distressed property.

“After a surge in short sales in late 2011 and early 2012, the favored disposition method for distressed properties is shifting back toward the more traditional foreclosure auction sales and bank-owned sales,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. “The combination of rapidly rising home prices—along with strong demand from institutional investors and other cash buyers able to buy at the public foreclosure auction or an as-is REO home—means short sales are becoming less favorable for lenders.”

The report also found that short sales represented 5.3 percent of all sales, down from 6.3 percent in the previous month and down from 11.2 percent in October 2012.

Nevada led the country in short sales with 14.2 percent in October. Florida followed with 13.6 percent, Maryland with 8.2 percent, Michigan with 6.7 percent, and Illinois with 6.2 percent.

Foreclosure auction sales to third parties—a new category separated out in the report for the first time in October—represented 2.5 percent of all sales, down from 2.8 percent in the previous month but nearly twice the 1.3 percent in October 2012.

REO sales accounted for 9.6 percent of all sales, up from 8.9 percent in September and up from 9.4 percent in October 2012.

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