In a report released Thursday, RealtyTrac, based in Irvine, Calif., said such distressed sales accounted for 20 percent of home sales overall in the third quarter, down from 22 percent in the second quarter, and down from 30 percent in the third quarter of 2010.
"Third parties purchased a total of 221,536 residential properties in some stage of foreclosure … or bank-owned … during the third quarter, down 11 percent from a revised second-quarter total and down 5 percent from the third quarter of 2010," the report said.
RealtyTrac Chief Executive Officer Brandon Moore said in a statement "continued ambiguity surrounding proper foreclosure procedures" is responsible for the declining share of foreclosure shares in the third quarter.
"The sooner the market gets more clarity about accepted foreclosure procedures, primarily through the long-promised settlement between multiple states attorneys general and major lenders, the sooner the market can more efficiently dispose of these distressed properties," Moore said.
"Even with the hurdles to selling foreclosures, foreclosure sales continue to represent a historically high percentage of all sales," he said. "In 2005 and 2006, foreclosure sales consistently accounted for less than 5 percent of all sales nationwide."