LOS ANGELES -- Bank-owned homes and those in some stage of the foreclosure process saw their share of overall U.S. home sales grow in the first three months of this year.
Foreclosure listing service RealtyTrac Inc. says the increase was driven by a spike in short sales, or homes that sell for less than what the owner owes on their mortgage.
Short sales make up the vast majority of homes sold while still in the foreclosure process. Those that aren't sold or auctioned off typically end up being repossessed by banks.
Short sales grew 25 percent from a year earlier, hitting a three-year high.
In contrast, sales of bank-owned properties declined 15 percent versus the first quarter last year.
Foreclosure sales in the first quarter made up 26 percent of all U.S. home sales in the same period. That's well below its first-quarter 2009 peak of 45 percent.
The Associated Press