By Pamela M. Prah

Foreclosure sales accounted for 35 percent of all home sales in Georgia, the highest percentage in the nation. Other states with a high percentage of foreclosure-related sales were Illinois (32 percent), California (30 percent), Arizona (28 percent), and Michigan (28 percent).

Nationwide 190,121 properties were sold during the first quarter of the year that were in some stage of foreclosure or bank-owned, a decrease of 18 percent from the previous quarter and down 22 percent from the first quarter of 2012, RealtyTrac said in its latest U.S. Foreclosure & Short Sales Report.

“Arizona and California used to consistently be at the top of this list, along with Nevada, but those states are moving down the list because of a combination of a fast foreclosure process that has allowed the market to absorb the foreclosures more quickly as well as rising home prices, which is helping more homeowners at risk avoid foreclosure,” Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac, said.

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Blomquist said that while Georgia has a fairly quick foreclosure process, home prices have not been increasing as rapidly over the past year as in other markets, so foreclosure sales have not slowed as much there. Meanwhile, Illinois has both languishing home prices and a lengthy foreclosure process, which is resulting in more foreclosure sales even while the other markets are seeing fewer, Blomquist said.

RealtyTrac found foreclosure-related sales accounting for less than 10 percent of all sales in these states: Massachusetts (6.5 percent), New York (6.6 percent), New Jersey (9.6 percent), Nebraska (7 percent) and Arkansas and Kentucky (both 8 percent).