The share of distressed sales is shrinking as the housing market continues to recover.<@SM>Not all distressed properties are alike. Those that sold with the biggest discounts involved foreclosure auctions, had negative equity, were vacant and were built between 1950 and 1990.<@SM>Distressed properties that sold with the smallest discounts were REOs that were built before 1950. ***Charts courtesy of RealtyTrac.


IRVINE, CA—“Distressed sales continue to represent a smaller share of the overall sales pie nationwide, helping to boost median home prices higher given that distressed sales tend to be in lower price ranges,” according to Daren Blomquist, VP of RealtyTrac. The firm reports that distressed and short sales were doen to 14.3% of US residential sales in May, down from 15.6% in April and down from 15.9% in May 2013.

As reported earlier this week, US residential properties, including single-family homes, condominiums and townhomes, sold at an estimated annual pace of nearly 5.2 million in May, a number that is virtually the same as April and representing an increase of less than 1% from May 2013, according to a report from RealtyTrac. However, median home prices increased 6% in May as compared to April and rose 13% from May 2013, representing the biggest annual increase since US home prices bottomed out in March 2012.

Metro areas with the highest share of combined short sales and distressed sales were Las Vegas; Lakeland, FL; Modesto, CA; Jacksonville, FL; and Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario in Southern California. Also, distressed properties with the biggest discounts were those scheduled for public foreclosure aution that were vacant, had negative equity and were built between 1950 and 1990. Properties in this category sold for an average discount that was 28% below the control group of non-distressed sales.

However, this discount was not across the board for all distressed properties. RealtyTrac reports that bank-owned properties overall sold at a 3% premium, while bank-owned properties built in 1950 or before sold at a 7% premium. Property profiles with the biggest discounts—and the discounts available—also varied significantly by state, with the largest discounts in New York (properties scheduled for foreclosure auction with negative equity and vacant), Ohio (properties in default, with negative equity, vacant and built between 1950 and 1990), Michigan (properties in default and vacant), Florida (properties scheduled for foreclosure auction with negative equity, vacant and built between 1950 and 1990) and California (properties scheduled for foreclosure auction with positive equity).