There was a rise in the number of foreclosures sales across the country during the fourth quarter of 2011, RealtyTrac reports.
According to a recent report from the real estate data firm, foreclosures accounted for a 24 percent share of all home sale transactions during the three-month period, which is an increase from the 20 percent share foreclosed houses accounted for during the previous quarter. However, on an annual basis, this is a 26 percent decline.
"Sales of foreclosures in the fourth quarter continued to be slowed by questions surrounding proper foreclosure paperwork and procedures," said RealtyTrac chief executive officer Brandon Moore.
The report found that during the course of 2011, the total number of foreclosure-related sales fell 2 percent amounting to 907,138 transactions. As a result of fewer sales, the closing price of these properties dipped 5 percent from the fourth quarter in 2010 to an average of $164,944.
"Foreclosures accounted for nearly one in every four sales during the quarter and for the entire year," Moore said. "We expect to see foreclosure-related sales increase in 2012, particularly pre-foreclosure sales, as lenders start to more aggressively dispose of distressed assets held up by the mortgage servicing gridlock over the past 18 months."
Regionally, it was found that pre-foreclosures sales rose roughly 20 percent in 2011 in a number of key states, including Arizona, California, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, Texas and Washington.
Meanwhile, it was noted that Nevada, California and Georgia - states that have accounted for a majority share of foreclosures since the housing market collapse - had the highest share of foreclosed houses accounting for property sales.
In Nevada alone, foreclosures accounted for 56 percent of all residential transactions, while distressed properties made up 43 percent of sales in California. Georgia followed with a 39 percent of sales being forecloses houses during the fourth quarter.
"We continued to see a shift toward pre-foreclosure sales, or short sales, and away from REO sales in the fourth quarter," Moore said. "Nationally, pre-foreclosure sales increased 15 percent from a year ago while REO sales decreased 12 percent."
Meanwhile, it was found that these pre-foreclosure sales sold at an average price of $184,221 during the fourth quarter, a 3 percent decrease from the previous three-month period and 11 percent lower on an annual basis.