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Sales of Homes Facing Foreclosure on the Rise

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LOS ANGELES — Sales of U.S. homes facing foreclosure are on the rise and outpacing sales of bank-owned homes, a reflection of stepped up efforts this year by lenders to avoid foreclosing on homes with mortgages gone unpaid.

In the third quarter, sales of homes already in the foreclosure process jumped 22 percent compared to the previous quarter and a year earlier, foreclosure tracker RealtyTrac Inc. said Thursday.

Short sales, when a lender agrees to accept less than what the homeowner owes on their mortgage, accounted for 65 percent of those so-called preforeclosure sales in the quarter, the firm said.

Banks have become more amenable to short sales as an alternative to foreclosure, which can often end up leading to bigger losses and mire lenders and borrowers in a time-consuming and expensive process.

The lenders have reported that they provided $26 billion in home-loan relief between March 1 and Sept. 30, with about half of that stemming from short sales.

Banks also have been approving short sales for borrowers who have yet to enter the foreclosure process. These types of short sales increased by 15 percent in the third quarter versus the previous three months and were up 22 percent from the third quarter of last year, RealtyTrac said.

As short sales and other preforeclosure sales have become more common, they have begun to outpace sales of bank-owned homes.

Some 98,125 homes in some stage of foreclosure were sold in the third quarter, while 94,934 bank-owned homes were sold in the same period. Preforeclosures have outnumbered sales of bank-owned homes through the first nine months of the year, RealtyTrac said.

The new report contained no New Mexico-specific data.
— This article appeared on page B1 of the Albuquerque Journal

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