Foreclosure Sales Last Year Lowest Since 2007

Irvine, CA, Feb. 28, 2013 -- Last year had the fewest foreclosure-related sales of homes since 2007, according to tracking firm RealtyTrac.

However, the levels were still far higher than before the housing market collapsed.

Nearly 950,000 U.S. properties in some state of foreclosure or owned by a bank were sold in 2012, down 6% from the prior year, RealtyTrac said.

By comparison, there were about 46,000 foreclosure-related sales in 2005.

Foreclosure-related sales made up about 21% of all U.S. residential sales last year, down from 23% in the prior year, but much greater than about 1% in 2005.

Also, properties sold as short sales, but not in foreclosure, rose 4% from the prior year.

Overall, distressed sales accounted for 43% of residential sales last year, according to RealtyTrac.