Homes in distress hit local market

More than 25% of 2011 sales in county were in foreclosure

By Cami Joner, Columbian retail & real estate reporter

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In 2011, more than one quarter of all home sales in Clark County involved properties that were in some stage of foreclosure, according to a report issued Wednesday.

The report by California-based RealtyTrac Inc. said last year’s 2,019 completed foreclosures showed a volume of distressed property sales that was 21 percent higher than the previous year, indicating that a logjam of foreclosures are moving through the local market.

At the same time, declining home values locally also indicate every foreclosure sale is putting downward pressure on the market.

Home prices in the Portland-Vancouver metro area dropped 1.8 percent from November to December, according to the closely watched Standard & Poor’s/Case Shiller home price index

Prices declined 7.8 percent from December 2010 to December 2011.

Similar to home prices across the nation’s 20 largest metro areas, median prices climbed during the first part of 2011, then started dropping again. The Portland-Vancouver area’s month-over-month decline was its seventh straight.

Year-over-year prices also continued to decline in January, according to the Portland-based RMLS listing service. The average sales price in Clark County went down 12.2 percent in January from a year earlier. The median price dropped by 14.9 percent to $166,000, down from $195,000 in the same month in 2010.