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Maryland and distressed home sales

In February, Maryland posted the largest percentage of distressed home sales of any state in the country at 19.9 percent, with the Baltimore-Columbia-Towson metropolitan area also posting the largest at 19.8 percent. Distressed sales include short sales and real-estate owned properties. Nationwide, distressed sales accounted for 11.1 percent of all homes that were sold.

The peak for distressed home sales in the United States was in Janaury 2009 when they comprised nearly 33 percent of all home sales. According to Core Logic, the company that issued the report detailing February 2016 transactions, distressed sales help to clear the market of housing stock. Since the prices are at a large discount for distressed or foreclosed properties, however, the reduced prices can pull down the prices of all homes on the market, including those that are not distressed.

Out of all of the states, only two show distressed sale percentages that are near the levels they were before the mortgage crisis of the 2000s. Maryland's high percentage still shows that the state's housing market still needs significant improvement before it normalizes to pre-crisis levels.

A high percentage of distressed sales in Maryland may make the real estate marketplace more attractive to buyers rather than to sellers. Buyers may potentially be able to find homes at lower prices currently than they might be able to in the future after the market stabilizes completely. Those who have found one may then want to meet with a real estate law attorney who might review proposed escrow and loan transaction documents to make certain they are in order and that the client's interests are protected.

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