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Are short sales on the decline in America?

As economic trends shift, it can be difficult to monitor exactly what is happening in America's economy. Many of the economic decisions people make are influenced by the way the economic wind is blowing. When the economy is strong, for example, people are more inclined to take risks, while a weak economy leads to a tendency to save more money. It's important, then, that we receive accurate data about the current situation.

According to many sources, short sales are currently on the decline in America today, as home prices continue to rise. Data from the National Association of Realtors and several industry groups all seem to point to rising home prices and a falling number of foreclosures and short sales.

Short sales are a financial option that allows homeowners to sell their house for less than the value of their remaining mortgage. The bank then takes the sale price and releases the homeowner from the mortgage. It's an important consideration for many homeowners who may be struggling financially.

While many important sources seem to conclude that short sales are in the decline in America, one source, using a different polling method, reported the opposite. According to RealtyTrac, short sales are up this September, from 9 percent last year to 15 percent this year. The organization gathered this information by searching public records in 2,300 counties.

Other organizations have questioned the group's methods, though RealtyTrac stands by its numbers. In any case, it seems that short sales remain a viable option for many homeowners today, who may be looking to escape from under a difficult mortgage. Many of the sources reported that anywhere from 6 to 9 percent of all sales are short sales, a fairly large amount that suggests banks are willing to consider the option.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, "Distressed Home Sales: Rising or Falling? It Depends on the Source" Nick Timiraos, Nov. 05, 2013

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