A three-year high in pre-foreclosure sales, typically short sales, helped push the nation’s overall share of distressed sales up to 26 percent in the first quarter.  A total of 233,299 properties sold in the first quarter were either in some stage of foreclosure, meaning they were subject to a default or had completed the foreclosure process and become bank-owned before being sold.  That total is virtually unchanged from first-quarter 2011, though it was a slightly higher share of overall sales, about 26 percent than in the same three-month period last year, when 25 percent of homes sold were distressed.  Twelve percent of overall sales and nearly 47 percent of foreclosure-related sales last quarter were pre-foreclosure homes — a total of 109,521 properties. That’s a 25 percent increase from first-quarter 2011 and the highest total since first-quarter 2009.  As we see these distressed properties move out of the market, we can expect to see housing prices stabilize further leading to increases in home values.