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Home Value Highwire: Short sales make up third of housing market

Monday - 3/4/2013, 12:45pm  ET

Darci Marchese, wtop.com

WASHINGTON -- Foreclosures have been weighing down the housing market for years now, but in some states, including Maryland, short sales are surpassing them.

According to RealtyTrac, 2012 saw a big increase in short sales in Maryland.

RealtyTrac Vice President Daren Blomquist says short sales made up of 28 percent of all home sales in Maryland. Foreclosures accounted for 10 percent.

In 2011, foreclosures made up 44 percent of the market.

"Banks are opting in greater numbers for short sales rather than foreclosure," says Blomquist. That's mainly because the foreclosure process is so lengthy in Maryland.

But Maryland isn't seeing an end to foreclosures, Blomquist says. Foreclosure activity has increased for seven consecutive months, and that will eventually result in foreclosure sales. It will take at least another six to 12 months for those foreclosures hit the market.

The trend is similar in D.C. because of city intervention to stop foreclosures there. Blomquist says he expects to see more short sales this year after short sales increased 10 percent last year.

Virginia continues to see fewer short sales and foreclosures. Blomquist says the state has moved through much of its distressed properties and is enjoying a healthier market.

View RealtyTrac's entire report.

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