``Deals for bank-owned and distressed properties rose to 24 percent of total home sales from 20 percent in the third quarter, according to RealtyTrac Inc. The transactions fell from 26 percent a year earlier, the Irvine, California-based data seller said today in a statement... The number of short sales jumped 15 percent from the fourth quarter of 2010 while purchases of bank-owned houses fell 12 percent, according to RealtyTrac. Pre-foreclosure deals outnumbered bank-owned sales in the "bellwether" cities of Los Angeles, Miami and Phoenix, Moore said.'' -- Short sales are the smarter way to do things...

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