Distressed properties—foreclosures and short sales—accounted for about 23 percent of total U.S. home sales in 2011, the smallest share since 2008, according to the latest RealtyTrac report released today. Read more in The Washington Post.

Solid economic growth
The Federal Reserve reported solid growth in its 12 banking districts, including Chicago, which saw increased business spending, increased manufacturing output and increased construction activity, particularly in apartment construction. Find highlights in the Belleville News-Democrat.

 Appraisals still a sticking point
Appraisals, and the process for how they are determined, can often be an issue in home sales, as this article in the Belleville News-Democrat points out.