The Associated Press May 26, 2011, 12:18PM ET

Foreclosures account for 11.9 percent of 1Q sales

Houses in foreclosure accounted for 11.9 percent of first-quarter home sales in Louisiana and went for far below market level, a national tracking firm said Thursday.

During the first three months of 2011, there were 497 homes sold in the state in some stage of foreclosure, ranging from an initial default notice to owners to properties that had been taken back by lenders, Irvine, Calif.-based RealtyTrac said.

Those sales had an average price of $116,201 -- 35.9 percent less than houses that weren't in foreclosure.

RealtyTrac said that houses owned by lenders were sold at an average discount of 41 percent to those with owners up to date on their payments. Houses where owners were in trouble but had not yet been hit by foreclosure went for an average of 22.3 percent less.

Nationally, sales of lender-owned homes and those in some stage of foreclosure accounted for 28 percent of all U.S. residential sales in the first quarter. That was up slightly from 27 percent of all sales in the fourth quarter of 2010.

In 2010, buyers snapped up over 2,500 Louisiana homes in some stage of foreclosure last year -- paying about 25 percent less than for other properties, RealtyTrac said.

Nationally, lender-owned homes and those in some stage of foreclosure accounted for 158,434 sales, or 28 percent of all U.S. residential sales, in the first quarter. That was up slightly from 27 percent of all sales in the fourth quarter of 2010, RealtyTrac said.

RealtyTrac chief executive James Saccacio noted that nearly 350,000 foreclosure properties were sold in the United States in the first quarter of 2010 -- but the backlog is far from cleared. Although the reduced number of foreclosure sales likely is helping to stabilize housing prices, it would still take three years to clear a backlog of 1.9 million foreclosed properties at the current rate, Saccacio said.

Foreclosure sales accounted for 53 percent of all Nevada sales in the first quarter, followed by California and Arizona with 45 percent, Idaho with 22 percent and Michigan and Oregon with 32 percent, RealtyTrac said.


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