U.S. residential properties - including single family homes, condominiums and town homes - sold at an estimated annualized pace of 5,649,965, a 2% increase from the previous month and up 13% from October 2012, according to RealtyTrac's October U.S. Residential & Foreclosure Sales Report.

Home sales, despite the nationwide increase, continued to decrease on an annual basis for the third consecutive month in three bellwether states: California (down 15 from a year ago), Arizona (down 13%), and Nevada (down 5%).

The national median sales price of all residential properties - including both distressed and non-distressed sales - was $170,000, unchanged from September but up 6% from October 2012, the 18th consecutive month median home prices have increased on an annualized basis.

The median price of a distressed residential property - in foreclosure or bank owned - was $110,000 in October, 41% below the median price of $185,000 for a non-distressed property.

"After a surge in short sales in late 2011 and early 2012, the favored disposition method for distressed properties is shifting back toward the more traditional foreclosure auction sales and bank-owned sales," said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. "The combination of rapidly rising home prices - along with strong demand from institutional investors and other cash buyers able to buy at the public foreclosure auction or an as-is REO home - means short sales are becoming less favorable for lenders."

Other high-level findings from the report:

    •    Short sales represented 5.3% of all sales, down from 6.3% in the previous month and down from 11.2% in October 2012 (see important note below on changes to short sale methodology).?

    •    States with the highest percentage of short sales in October included Nevada (14.2%), Florida (13.6%), Maryland (8.2%), Michigan (6.7%) and Illinois (6.2%).?

    •    Foreclosure auction sales to third parties - a new category separated out in the report for the first time in October - represented 2.5% of all sales, down from 2.8% in the previous month but nearly twice the 1.3% in October 2012.?

    •    Markets with the highest percentage of foreclosure auction sales included Orlando (8.6%), Jacksonville, Fla., (8.6%), Columbia, S.C. (8.1%), Las Vegas (6.6%), Charlotte (6.1%), Miami (6.0%) and Tampa (5.7%).?

    •    REO sales accounted for 9.6% of all sales, up from 8.9% in September and up from 9.4% in October 2012.?

    •    Markets with highest percentage of REO sales included Stockton, Calif., (24.4%), Las Vegas (23.8%), Cleveland (22.3%), Riverside-San Bernardino, Calif., (20.1%), Detroit (18.8%) and Phoenix (18.0%).?

    •    Cash sales represented 44.2% of all residential sales in October, down from a revised 45.0% in September but up from 33.9% in October 2012.?

    •    States with percentage of cash sales above the national average included Florida (65.6%), Nevada (55.5%), Georgia (55.4%), South Carolina (53.9%), North Carolina (49.9%), Michigan (49.5%) and Ohio (49.2%).?

    •    Institutional investor purchases represented 6.8% of all sales in October, a sharp drop from a revised 12.1% in September and down from 9.7% a year ago.?

    •    Markets with the highest percentage of institutional investor purchases included Memphis (25.4%), Atlanta (23.0%), Jacksonville, Fla., (22.2%), Charlotte (14.5%), and Milwaukee (12.0%).?

    •    Markets with biggest increase in median home price included Detroit (up 38%), San Francisco (up 32%), Sacramento (up 30%), Atlanta (up 30%), and Jacksonville, Fla. (up 29%).?

RealtyTrac's report provides counts and median prices for sales of residential properties nationwide, by state and metropolitan statistical areas with a population of 500,000 or more. 

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