The number of short-sales -- when banks accept less money for a home than is currently owed on the mortgage -- crept up in August from the previous month. In theory, that's good news because an uptick in short-sales should fewer homes going into foreclosure.

But that's not the case yet. August foreclosure sales increased 12 percent from July, and foreclosure starts grew 14 percent. Faith Schwartz, executive director of HOPE NOW, attributed the rise to lenders clearing their foreclosure backlog, noting that many of the foreclosures have been in process for at least a year.

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