``Sales of bank-owned real estate (REO) have always been higher than pre-foreclosure sales, but that gap is narrowing.  In January there were only about 2,500 more REO sales nationwide than pre-foreclosure sales and in 12 states pre-foreclosure sales outnumbered REO sales in January.  In other states the gap between the two sales types is narrowing, indicating, RealtyTrac says, that lenders are viewing short sales more favorably when compared to foreclosing and marketing the resulting REO.''

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