Summer comes early tomorrow as the Northeast will see its housing market heat up over a series of real estate-owned (REO) auctions. Auctioneer Hudson & Marshall of Texas is poised to launch a series of REO auctions throughout the Northeast. More than 200 bank-owned homes valued from $20,000 to more than $500,000 apiece sit on the auction line-up from June 16th through June 21st. So-called "distressed" or foreclosed homes typically fetch around 20% less than non-foreclosure sales, pushing down home prices and -- say some of HousingWire's sources -- helping the housing market along toward bottom. And with owner-occupant buyers -- as opposed to investors -- accounting for around 57% of individuals attending Hudson & Marshall's (H&M's) bank-owned auctions, it's clear REO auctions are a hot tool for getting homeowners back in vacant, foreclosed homes. "The rise in foreclosures across the county has pushed average home prices back to 2002 levels," said Dave Webb, principal at H&M, in a media statement. "Foreclosure purchases are rising because people like buying property at a discount and in a good or bad, this will never change." Of course, with the discount comes a disclaimer: H&M says all auctioned properties are buyer-beware, meaning some conditional deterioration may have occurred and the auctioneer cannot vouch for move-in conditions. But for prospective buyers that view the property beforehand and know what they're getting into, H&M offers an online pre-sale option through which bidders can submit offers before the property goes to the auction floor. As much as 30% to 40% of H&M's homes sell through this channel before auction, Webb tells HousingWire in an earlier interview. Write to Diana Golobay. For an in-depth look into the REO auction space, see HousingWire coverage in the upcoming July magazine issue. Subscribe here to get the story first.