One-Third of Home Sales Distressed

Hold on to your hats: Distressed home sales made up nearly a third of all home sales in the U.S. in January.

Such sales, including short sales and real estate-owned (REO) transactions, accounted for 29 percent of sales -- reaching highs not seen since January 2009, when home prices were at their weakest, according to a report from First American CoreLogic.

A rise in distressed sales typically indicates a decrease in home prices, as the chart, left, illustrates. So are home prices headed back down?