Short Sales Could Outnumber REOs in Some States: RealtyTrac

A wave of short sales is helping ease the number of completed foreclosures and soon may outnumber sales of bank-owned properties, or REOs, in some states, according to the real estate site RealtyTrac.
Foreclosure filings were reported on 188,780 U.S. properties in April, the lowest monthly total since July 2007, RealtyTrac reported today.
Foreclosure activity in April declined 5 percent from the previous month, and was down 14 percent from April 2011.
One in every 698 U.S. housing units had a foreclosure filing – default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions – during the month.
More distressed loans are being diverted into short sales, rather than becoming completed foreclosures, said Brandon Moore, CEO of RealtyTrac.
“Our preliminary first quarter sales data shows that pre-foreclosure sales – typically short sales – are on pace to outnumber sales of bank-owned properties during the quarter in California, Arizona and 10 other states,” Brandon said.
Bank repossessions (REOs) decreased on a monthly basis for the third straight month in April, down 7 percent from March.
Lenders completed foreclosures on 51,415 U.S. properties during the month, down 26 percent from April 2011 — the 18th consecutive month with a year-over-year decrease in REOs.
There have been significant decreases in overall foreclosure filings in the hardest-hit states, such as California, Arizona and Nevada.
“Those three states, and several other non-judicial foreclosure states like them, more efficiently processed foreclosures last year, resulting in fewer catch-up foreclosures this year,” Moore said.
The metro areas with the highest foreclosure rates among the 20 largest were Riverside-San Bernardino (one in every 213 housing units with a foreclosure filing), Miami (one in every 273), Atlanta (one in every 298), Phoenix (one in  every 313), and Tampa (one in every 315).
Combined foreclosure activity in the 24 states with a non-judicial foreclosure process, and the District of Columbia, decreased 7 percent from the previous month and was down 29 percent from April 2011.
Combined foreclosure activity in the 26 states with a judicial foreclosure process decreased 3 percent from the previous month, but was still up 15 percent from April 2011.

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