Nearly one out of every three (29 percent) of homes sold in the nation in January were so-called “distressed” sales – short sales or sales of property claimed by lenders in foreclosures, according to a new report Thursday from real estate information company First American CoreLogic of Santa Ana.

A year earlier — January 2009 — distressed sales accounted for 32 percent of all sales transactions.

The report states, after peaking in January of last year, the distressed sales share fell to 23 percent in July, before rising again in late 2009 and continuing into 2010.

Distressed sales are non-arms length transactions such as REO or short sales. Distressed sales have a very strong influence on home price trends and are an indicator of a housing market’s health.

The rebound in distressed sales occurred due to increases in both the REO (bank owned) and short sales shares, says First American CoreLogic.

The REO share increased to 22 percent in January 2010, up from 19 percent in December but down from a year ago when it was 27 percent. Short sales accounted for 8 percent of all sales in January, up from 7 percent in December and 5 percent a year ago.

Among the largest 25 markets, Riverside, in Southern California, had the largest percentage of distressed sales in January (62 percent), followed closely by Las Vegas (59 percent) and Sacramento (58 percent).

The top REO market was Detroit where the REO share was 48 percent, followed closely by Riverside (47 percent) and Las Vegas (45 percent). San Diego’s short sale share was 19 percent in January, making it the highest ranked short sale market, followed by Sacramento (18 percent) and Oakland (16 percent).

In every market, the key to making a good deal is real estate comps. But, especially in these markets, you have to be sure to use your data provided by InvestorCompsOnline to analyze what you should pay for a property; remembering you make your profit when you buy.


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