RealtyTrac — as close to foreclosure-data experts as you can get — reports that short sales “soared” in the second quarter.

The numbers:

Q2 2010: Bank-owned or foreclosure properties made up 24% of all sales.

Q2 2011: Bank-owned or foreclosure properties made up 31% of all sales. 

And pricing? The average REO/foreclosure property sold for 32% less than one not in foreclosure. And the average sale price for distressed homes dropped 5% from last year.

Is there a silver lining to these numbers? RealtyTrac CEO James Saccacio thinks so. These numbers, he said

all point to a housing market that is starting to focus on more efficiently clearing distressed inventory through more streamlined short sales — at least in some areas.

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This gives distressed homeowners who do not qualify for loan modification or refinancing — or who are not interested in those options and want to sell — a better chance of completing a short sale to avoid foreclosure.

imageClick here to read the full RealtyTrac release and report, full of number-crunched goodness.

And be sure to catch Sarah Stelmok’s “Short Sales: 9 Things You Need to Know” at the REal Show, October 7. Register now!