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Foreclosures Made Up 28% of Home Sales in First Quarter

ABC News(IRVINE, Calif.) -- Almost a third of all the homes sold in the U.S. during the first three months of this year were in foreclosure, according to the latest figures released Thursday by RealtyTrac.

The listing firm said foreclosed properties accounted for 28 percent of sales, the highest percentage in a year.  During the same time period in 2010, 29 percent of home sales were in foreclosure.

According to RealtyTrac, the average price of a foreclosed home in the first quarter of 2011 was $168,321, down nearly two percent from the last three months of 2010.

With bank-owned properties being priced nearly 27 percent lower than homes not in foreclosure, potential homebuyers stand to land a good deal.  However, as RealtyTrac notes, bank-owned properties continue to be a drag on the housing recovery.

“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 RealtyTrac CEO James J. Saccacio.  “While this is probably helping to keep home prices relatively stable, 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,” Saccacio added.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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