U.S. residential properties, including single family homes, condominiums and townhomes, sold at an estimated annual pace of 5,083,241 in February, a 0.2% decrease from the previous month but still up 7% from a year ago, according to RealtyTrac's February Residential & Foreclosure Sales Report. February marked the fourth consecutive month where sales activity decreased.

Short sales and distressed sales — in foreclosure or bank-owned — accounted for 16.9% of all U.S. sales in February, up from 16.1% of sales in January but down from 19.1% of sales in February 2013. The median price of distressed properties — in foreclosure or bank-owned — was $96,606 in February, 44% below the median price of non-distressed properties: $172,339.

Short sales nationwide accounted for 5.7% of all sales, up from 5.5% in January but down from 6.9% a year ago. Metro areas with the highest percentage of short sales included Las Vegas (17%) and Orlando (16.8%).

Sales of bank-owned properties nationwide accounted for 9.7% of sales, up from 9.3% in January but down from 11.1% a year ago. Metro areas with the highest percentage of bank-owned sales in February included Cleveland (29.8%), Stockton, Calif. (25.5%), Las Vegas (25.4%), Detroit (23%), and Jacksonville, Fla. (21.1%).

The decrease in overall residential property sales volume nationwide was driven by monthly decreases in 31 states. Meanwhile sales volume decreased on a year-over-year basis in six states, including Massachusetts, California, Arizona and Nevada, and 21 of the nation’s 50 largest metro areas.

“Supply and demand have reached a bit of a standoff in this uneven real estate recovery,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. “The supply of distressed properties — which buyers and investors have come to rely on over the past few years — is evaporating quickly in most markets, but that dwindling supply is not being adequately replenished by non-distressed homeowners listing their homes or by new homes being built. Meanwhile, a key source of demand over the past two years — institutional investors purchasing single family homes as rentals — is starting to decline, and it’s not yet clear if that diminishing demand will be filled by first-time homebuyers and move-up buyers.”

The national median sales price of U.S. residential properties — including both distressed and non-distressed sales — was $164,667 in February, down 1% from the previous month but up 4% from February 2013. February marked the 20th consecutive month where the U.S. median price increased or stayed flat annually, but it was the second consecutive month with a monthly decrease.

Sales at the public foreclosure auction accounted for 1.5% of all sales nationwide in February, up from 1.3% in January and up from 1.1% in February 2013.

Metro areas with the highest percentage of foreclosure auction sales in February included Lakeland, Fla., (6.9%), Columbus, Ohio (5.4%), Charlotte, N.C. (4.7%), Miami (4.7%), and Las Vegas (4.6%).

The RealtyTrac U.S. Residential Sales 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. Data is also available at the county level upon request. The report also provides a breakdown of cash sales, institutional investor sales, short sales, bank-owned sales and foreclosure auction sales to third parties.

The data is derived from recorded sales deeds and loan data, which is used to determine cash sales and short sales. Sales counts for recent months are projected based on seasonality and expected number of sales records for those months that are not yet available from public record sources but will be in the future given historical patterns. Statistics for previous months are revised when each new monthly report is issued as more deed data becomes available for those previous months.

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