Nearly one-third of all existing homes sold in the last three months were either short sales or foreclosures, according to monthly data compiled by the National Association of Realtors (NAR). A survey of NAR members indicated distressed sales -- including short sales and foreclosures -- accounted for 31% of total sales in July and June, down only slightly from 33% in May. In July, 20% of all sales were foreclosures and 11% were short sales, a NAR spokesperson told HousingWire. In light of the consistently distressed portion of home sales and the role of short sales in the market, NAR unveiled a new Short Sales and Foreclosure Certification Program for realtors. The certification involves a one-day education program completed in person or online, as well as three one-hour Webinars. The program aims to educate realtors to better serve borrowers that wish to avoid foreclosure. “Unfortunately, there are situations in which people just cannot afford to keep their homes," said president Charles McMillan in a press statement. "A short sale can help families protect their credit by avoiding a foreclosure. When a foreclosed or REO property is sold, it helps the surrounding community by reducing the impact of those properties on home values in the immediate area.” Write to Diana Golobay.