Sales of homes that were in some stage of foreclosure or bank-owned status accounted for 31% of all residential transactions in the second quarter, a slight decline from 1Q11, according to new figures released by RealtyTrac.

But compared to the same quarter last year the results were less pretty: 31% versus 24%, which means conditions could be worsening despite the sequential improvement.

Investors and owner/occupants purchased 265,087 homes in foreclosure/REO status in 2Q, a 6% jump from 1Q11.

California once again led the nation in distressed sales with 69,897 units changing hands in 2Q, followed by Florida (34,558), Arizona (25,756), and Nevada (15,685).

The average sales price of a home in foreclosure/REO was $164,217 in the quarter, a 1% decline from the 1Q11 reading. The average sales price for a foreclosed home was 32% below the average price of homes not in foreclosure, RealtyTrac said.

“With average prices on distressed real estate trending down and average discounts trending up, this report is clearly good news for well-positioned buyers and investors looking for bargain real estate that will build them wealth in the long term and often cash flow as rental real estate in the short term,” said James Saccacio chief executive officer of RealtyTrac.

But this “good news” for buyers means poor dollar sales for residents struggling with their mortgage and bank owners of REO.

RealtyTrac is based in Irvine, Calif.

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