Distressed sales, including short sales and real estate owned (REO) transactions, accounted for 29% of the entire US market in January, according to First American CoreLogic. It’s the highest level since April 2009 and close to the February number calculated by Clear Capital, another analytics firm, which released a report showing how those transactions are pressing home prices down. Distressed sales took the largest chunk of the market in January 2009 when 32% of sales fell into that category, according to First American. After this peak, the distressed share of the market fell to 23% in July before heading back up in late 2009 and into 2010. Broken down, the REO share of the market increased to 22% in January, up from 19% in December but still down from a year ago when it was as high as 27%. Short sales accounted for 8% of sales in January, inching up from 7% in December and 5% last year. On a volume scale, there were 974,000 distressed sales in the last 12 months, 740,000 being REO and 234,000 as short sales, according to First American. Looking at individual markets, distressed sales in Riverside, California took up 62% of the market in January, followed by 59% in Las Vegas and 58% in Sacramento, California. Detroit, Michigan was the highest REO market, where 48% of all transactions were REO. San Diego had the most short sales with 19% of its market falling into that category in January. Write to Jon Prior.

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