Distressed Sales Again on the Rise, Reaching 29% in January and Nearly 1 Million Distressed Sales During the Last Year

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For Release April 8, 2010


First American CoreLogic today released its first monthly report on distressed sales activity. The report below indicates

that distressed home sales – such as short sales and real estate owned (REO) sales – accounted for 29 percent of all sales

in the U.S. in January: the highest level since April 2009. The peak occurred in January 2009 when distressed sales

accounted for 32 percent of all sales transactions (Figure 1). After the peak in early 2009, the distressed sale 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. Market sales are arms‐length transactions

between a willing buyer and willing seller and they exclude distressed sales. Distressed sales have a very strong influence

on home price trends and are an indicator of a housing market's health.

Data Highlights


The rebound in distressed sales occurred due to increases in both the REO and short sales shares. 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 (Figure 1). Short sales accounted for 8 percent of all sales in January, up from 7 percent in December

and 5 percent a year ago. During the last 12 months, there were 974,000 distressed sales: 740,000 were REO

sales and 234,000 were short sales.


Among the largest 25 markets, Riverside, CA, had the largest percentage of distressed sales in January (62

percent), followed closely by Las Vegas (59 percent) and Sacramento (58 percent) (Figure 2). 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). Although the top 10 markets for

foreclosures are all located in Florida, only two Florida markets, Orlando and Cape Coral, made the top 10

distressed sale list. The most likely reason: Florida is a judicial state where foreclosures process through the

courts and take quite a bit longer than in California, Arizona or Nevada, where non‐judicial foreclosures are the



Among large markets, the biggest year‐over‐year declines occurred in California where the distressed sale share

fell by over 10 percentage points in Oakland, San Diego, Los Angeles and Sacramento (Figure 3). The drop in the

distressed share occurred generally in the most distressed markets. In markets with more moderate levels of

distressed sales, the distressed share was relatively flat compared to the year ago levels. Orlando, Seattle and

Houston were the only markets among the top 25 that experienced an increase in distressed sales, but the

increases were small.


Clearly there is a non‐linear price response to distressed sales (Figure 4). At low shares of distress, the price

discount1 for distressed sales relative to market sales is high as the very few properties that are distressed are

highly so. Examples of low distress/high price discount markets are Tulsa and Pittsburgh. At moderate to higher

levels of distress, the price discount rises with the increase in the distressed sale share as expected. However, at

very high distressed sale shares the price discount is much lower, which means that the prices in the two

markets (distressed and non‐distressed) begin to converge into one large distressed market. Examples of very

distressed markets where the gap between distressed and non‐distressed prices is small include Modesto,

Bakersfield and Stockton.


Distressed sales exhibit a strong temporal negative influence on home prices (Figure 5). Home prices did not

begin to decline until late 2007 in response to the rapid rise in the distressed sale share. The trough in average

home prices in early 2009 occurred at exactly the same time that distressed sales had peaked.


The average non‐distressed market‐sale price in January was $247,700 but the distressed average price was

$161,600. The average REO price was $141,900, compared to $215,300 for short sales. The discount between

market sales and distressed sales is currently about one‐third and has been running at the low‐to‐mid 30s during

the last 12 months (Figure 6).



The home sales data was extracted from First American CoreLogic's public record property transactions database that covers over 2,200 counties in

the US. These sales cover about 85% of all sales transactions. Real estate owned (REO) transactions are bank owned properties that are sold to a

third party and recorded as deed transfers. Short sales are identified by comparing the sales price to the 1st and 2nd lien mortgage amounts (which

includes cash‐out refinances) to determine the total amount of mortgage debt. If the sales price is less than the debt amount, it's considered a

short sale.

Source: First American CoreLogic. The data provided is for use only by the primary recipient or the primary recipient's publication. This data may

not be re‐sold, republished or licensed to any other source, including publications and sources owned by the primary recipient's parent company

without prior written permission from First American CoreLogic. Any First American CoreLogic data used for publication or broadcast, in whole or

in part, must be sourced as coming from First American CoreLogic, a real estate data and analytics company. For questions, analysis or

interpretation of the data contact Lori Guyton at lguyton@cvic.com or Bill Campbell at bill@campbelllewis.com. Data provided may not be

modified without the prior written permission of First American CoreLogic. Do not use the data in any unlawful manner. This data is compiled from

public records, contributory databases and proprietary analytics, and its accuracy is dependent upon these sources.



This is not the opinion of Brad Bergamini, Realty Executives Northern Arizona or any of its affiliates.  This post is for informational purpose only and is not guaranteed and does not render as legal advice.  Buying and selling Real Estate in Arizona or Prescott Arizona is a serious task and should be consulted with personally with Realtor or Real Estate Attorney.  Please visit my website for contact information