In Sonoma County I ran sales numbers for May with 366 total sales of which 119 were REO and 31 Short-Sales. Last year in 2007 we had 395 Sales, 4 of which were REO and 1 Short-Sale!!! If we didn't have these "recycled" properties (I'm thinking 'green' these days!) we'd have NO market!! Of our 2670 "Active" listings, 397 Are REO, 586 Short-Sales. Our "Continue to Shows" is bloated with SS which never close!! Only 8.5% of all of our sales are Short-Sales.
At my little corner of the world, it still takes upwards of 45 days or longer to get a response. I like it when a short sale has already been approved by the lender. That is, the listing agent and the owners have already submitted all the necessary paperwork such as a hardship letter, seller's financial info, etc. so that all they are waiting for is an offer. That seems to expedite the process just a tiny bit.
Although my clients still want to look at short sales, I try to educate them on the process and how long it takes. Additionally, when I submit an offer, I make it clear to the listing agent that my buyers reserve the right to continue to look for another property.
When we do find something better, we withdraw our offer on the previousl properties as a courtesy to the listing agent and his seller. The listing agent conveys this message to the lender....but do you think it helps to expedite the process? No! So we keep looking.