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Foreclosures in Maryland below U.S. average

Maryland continues to stay below the national rate of foreclosure home sales, with such properties accounting for about 13 percent of all homes sold in the state in the first quarter.

Nationally, homes in some stage of foreclosure or bank-owned homes, known as REOs, accounted for 26 percent of residential sales. That’s an 8 percent increase from the previous quarter, but virtually the same as a year ago.

RealtyTrac, a foreclosure data firm, released its first quarter foreclosure sales report Thursday.

Of the 233,299 homes in foreclosure sold in the country in the first quarter, 109,521 were in pre-foreclosure and 123,778 were bank-owned.

Sales of homes in pre-foreclosure, which are often sold via short sale — for less than the balance owed on the loan — increased by 16 percent from the previous quarter and 25 percent from the corresponding time last year.

“Those pre-foreclosure sales hit a three-year high in the first quarter even as the average pre-foreclosure sales price dropped to a record low for our report,” Brandon Moore, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac, said in a statement. “Lenders are approving more aggressively priced short sales, which in turn is resulting in more successful short sale transactions.”

The state had 2,051 homes in some state of foreclosure sold in the first quarter, a 1 percent decrease from the previous quarter and a 51 percent decrease from a year ago.

However, the number of homes sold in pre-foreclosure increased by 12 percent, going to 1,046 from 938 last quarter. That’s also a 57 percent decrease from the corresponding time last year.

There were 1,764 bank-owned homes sold in the state in the quarter, a decrease of 11 percent from the previous quarter and 43 percent less than the previous year.

Despite the drop in bank-owned home sales in Maryland, the national 2 percent increase in sales of such properties indicates there is a bottleneck of bank-owned homes that lenders are working through, Moore said.

Nationally, the average price of a foreclosure-related sale in the fourth quarter was 27 percent below the average price of a non-foreclosure, but Maryland foreclosure-related sales had a discount of 33 percent during the same period, the figures showed. Still, the average foreclosure sale price in Maryland — $180,246 for the fourth quarter — was higher than the national average of $161,214.

At 56 percent, Nevada had the highest rate in the country of foreclosure home sales during the first quarter, followed by California at 47 percent and Georgia at 46 percent. That’s a 4 percentage point increase in California and a 7 percentage point increase in Georgia from the previous quarter. Nevada’s percentage did not change.