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RealtyTrac: Short Sale Surge Coming in 2012
press release

RealtyTrac (, the leading online marketplace for foreclosure properties, today unveiled a new report outlining expected short sale trends in 2012. The report was presented exclusively in a live broadcast produced by the Charfen Institute for Certified Distressed Property Experts (, the fastest growing independent designation in real estate industry history, with more than 38,000 agents trained.

The RealtyTrac report shows a 33 percent year-over-year increase in pre-foreclosure sales (typically short sales) in January 2012, with annual increases in 32 states, including Georgia (113 percent increase), Michigan (90 percent increase), California (52 percent increase), Texas (48 percent increase), Arizona (44 percent increase), Nevada (36 percent increase), and Florida (20 percent increase).

Short sales outnumbered bank-owned REO sales in 12 states, including Utah, California, Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Colorado, New York and New Jersey. The full report provides detailed January pre-foreclosure sales data at the state and metro level, along with national pre-foreclosure sales data broken down by lender.

“Short sales have long held great promise as a market-based solution to the nation’s foreclosure problem, but short sales transactions over the past three years have actually declined after peaking in the first quarter of 2009,” said Daren Blomquist, Vice President at RealtyTrac and author of the report. “January foreclosure sales numbers, along with first quarter foreclosure activity, strongly indicate that downward trend is ending, and we believe 2012 could be a record year for short sales.”

“RealtyTrac’s data confirms the anecdotal evidence we’ve received from our network of nearly 40,000 CDPE-designated real estate agents,” said Alex Charfen, CEO of the Charfen Institute and co-host of the live broadcast with RealtyTrac Vice President Charlie Engel. “CDPEs across the country are telling us they’re helping more families this year than ever before avoid the indignity and financial devastation of a foreclosure by selling their property in a short sale.”

Short sales priced aggressively, time to sell turning a corner
In addition to the growing numbers of short sales, the report shows other trends pointing to a housing market climate that is becoming more favorable to successful short sales. The average pre-foreclosure sales price in January was $174,120, down 4 percent from December and down 10 percent from January 2011 — evidence that lenders are starting to approve more aggressively priced short sales.

Efforts to streamline the often-lengthy short sale approval process appear to finally be paying off, with the average time to sell a pre-foreclosure property edging lower for the second consecutive quarter in the first quarter of 2012. The average time from when a property started the foreclosure process to when it sold as a pre-foreclosure was 306 days in the first quarter, down from 308 days in the fourth quarter of 2011 and down from a peak of 318 days in the third quarter of 2011.

Foreclosure starts rising, large pools of potential short sales remain
Foreclosure starts — either default notices or scheduled foreclosure auctions — in the first quarter of 2012 also point to more potential short sales for the remainder of the year. More than 100,000 properties nationwide started the foreclosure process in March, an increase of 7 percent from the previous month and the first time foreclosure starts had exceeded 100,000 since November 2011.

March foreclosure starts were still down 11 percent from a year ago, but March was the third straight month where foreclosure starts increased from the previous month. And the trend is not just in a few states; 31 states posted monthly increases in foreclosure starts in March.

Another surge in foreclosure starts occurred from August to November of 2011, during which time national foreclosure starts averaged 109,000 per month after averaging 96,000 per month in the prior four-month period. Given that the average time to complete the foreclosure process nationwide is 370 days, most of the properties that started the foreclosure process during August to November 2011 are still in foreclosure and therefore represent potential foreclosure sales.

Behind the recent surges in foreclosure starts are two much larger pools of potential short sales. The first is delinquent loans not yet in the foreclosure process, representing approximately 3.5 million properties according to the fourth quarter 2011 National Delinquency Survey by the Mortgage Bankers Association. The second, even larger, pool of potential future short sales is underwater homeowners. A RealtyTrac analysis of 45 million outstanding mortgages nationwide shows that 12.5 million of those mortgages, or 28 percent, are seriously delinquent — meaning that loan amount is at least 25 percent higher than the estimated value of the property securing the loan.

View the broadcast:

View full report:

About RealtyTrac Inc.
RealtyTrac ( is the leading online marketplace of foreclosure properties, with more than 1.3 million default, auction and bank-owned listings from over 2,200 U.S. counties, along with detailed property, loan and home sales data. Hosting more millions of unique monthly visitors, RealtyTrac provides innovative technology solutions and practical education resources to facilitate buying, selling and investing in real estate. RealtyTrac’s foreclosure data has also been used by the Federal Reserve, FBI, U.S. Senate Joint Economic Committee and Banking Committee, U.S. Treasury Department, and numerous state housing and banking departments to help evaluate foreclosure trends and address policy issues related to foreclosures.

About the Charfen Institute
The Charfen Institute, the second fastest growing education company on the INC 500 list, providing training and resources to help small business owners and real estate professionals achieve tangible business results. The company produces more than 300 educational events and conferences each year through various divisions, including: The Certified Distressed Property Expert (CDPE) Designation (, the Certified Investor Agent Specialist (CIAS) Designation (, and Breakthrough Conference ( The company’s CDPE Designation is the fastest growing independent designation in real estate industry history, with more than 38,000 agents trained.


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