The nationwide annual rate of the sale of residential properties, which include single family homes, condominiums, and town homes, declined by 3 percent month-over-month and 12 percent year-over-year in July, according to Realty Trac's July 2014 U.S Residential & Foreclosure Sales Report released on August 29.

RealtyTrac reported residential properties sold at an annual rate of 4,634,513in July 2014, which marked the third straight month in which there was a year-over-year drop in annual home sales volume.

Meanwhile, median prices of homes (both distressed and non-distressed properties) increased from June to July by 3 percent up to $191,000, its highest level since September 2008. The median price rose by 12 percent from June 2013, according to RealtyTrac.

The median price of only distressed sales (sales of properties that are bank-owned or in some stage of foreclosure) stood at $128,000 for July, a 3 percent month-over-month increase and a gain of 11 percent year-over-year, according to RealtyTrac. That price still fell way below the median price of non-distressed properties, which was $204,000.

RealtyTrac reported that the percentage of total residential property sales that were distressed sales and short sales (sales by a distressed borrower for less than the balance of the mortgage) increased month-over-month in July but declined year-over-year. Distressed sales and short sales made up 13.6 percent of all residential home sales in July, which is an increase of 12.8 percent from June but a drop of 15 percent from July 2013.  The market with the highest percentage of combined distressed sales and short sales was Las Vegas, with 40.3 percent.

"As distressed sales continue to decline, the share of sales is tilting toward more expensive homes, boosting the nationwide median sales price," said Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac. "The nationwide home price increase, however, masks slowing home price appreciation in the majority of housing markets across the country. This slowing appreciation was expected and provides another sign that the real estate recovery thus far is behaving rationally. Still, the housing market is entering a dicey transition phase where it is becoming much more reliant on first-time homebuyers and move-up buyers to sustain the recovery as investor involvement wanes."

The percentage of total homes sold that were bank-owned (REO) was 8 percent in July, its lowest level since January 2011, according to RealtyTrac. That number marked an 8 percent decline from June and a 9.1 percent drop from July 2013.

Foreclosure auctions made up 1.2 percent of all residential properties sold nationwide in July, according to RealtyTrac. This percentage represented a slight increase from 1.1 percent in June and from 0.8 percent from a year ago.