NEW YORK Aug 30 Properties in foreclosure accounted for a larger proportion of U.S. home sales in the second quarter, while tight inventory helped them command a higher price, data from RealtyTrac showed on Thursday.
Homes that were in the foreclosure process or already seized by banks accounted for 23 percent of all sales, up from 22 percent in the first quarter and 19 percent in the second quarter a year ago.
Still, the limited inventory of such homes available pushed the number of sales down nearly 12 percent to 224,429 properties.
Sales were also down about 22 percent from the previous year, the first annual decrease after five quarters of gains.
Anecdotes from real estate agents, buyers and investors have pointed to a limited supply of foreclosure inventory in many markets, RealtyTrac said. The cheap prices have attracted bargain hunters, while a backlogged foreclosure process has also caused the number of distressed homes on the market to dwindle.
The tight supply helped boost prices by 6 percent to an average $170,040. Prices were up 7 percent from the second quarter of 2011, the first annual increase in two years.
Prices were still 32 percent lower than the average price of a non-distressed home.
"This shortage of supply is resulting in a lot of situations where you have multiple offers on the foreclosure properties and buyers who are willing to even go above and beyond the asking price," said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac.
Sales of homes that were in default but had not yet been foreclosed on fell 10 percent to 107,298, while sales of homes seized by banks were down 13 percent to 117,131.
Homes in default - known as short sales - attracted a higher price at $185,062, compared to $155,892 for bank-owned homes.
(Reporting by Leah Schnurr)
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