Breaking News: Dramatic Increase In Short Sale Approvals!

Breaking News: RealtyTrac reports  a dramatic increase in SHORT SALES!

Big surprise, I know…

Bank-owned and distressed properties sales rose to 24 percent of total home sales from 20 percent in the third quarter.

The number of short sales jumped 15 percent from the fourth quarter of 2010 while purchases of bank-owned houses fell 12 percent, according to RealtyTrac. Pre-foreclosure deals outnumbered bank-owned sales in the “bellwether” cities of Los Angeles, Miami and Phoenix, Moore said.

Here are the hard numbers:

A total of 88,303 pre-foreclosure (short sales) properties sold in the fourth quarter, making up 10 percent of all transactions.

* For 2011, purchases of foreclosures and distressed houses totaled 907,138, down 2 percent from 2010 and accounting for 23 percent of all home sales

* There were 204,080 such deals in the fourth quarter, down 8 percent from the previous three months and 2 percent from a year earlier.

* REO home sales totaled 115,777 in the fourth quarter and sold for an average $164,944

* The price represents an average discount of 29 percent compared with non-foreclosure properties, down from 34 percent in the third quarter and 35 percent a year earlier.

* Pre-foreclosure homes (Short Sales) sold for an average $184,221 in the fourth quarter, down 3 percent from the previous three months and 11 percent from a year earlier. The 88,303 properties sold at an average 21 percent discount relative to non-distressed houses.

What all of this means is that Short Sales net the banks more than REO Sales.

RealtyTrac sells default data from more than 2,200 counties representing 90 percent of the U.S.