When compared to the second quarter of 2012 and the fourth quarter of 2011, average loans declined by $29.6 million and $105.5 million, respectively. Most loan categories have experienced declines with the reduction primarily in the commercial real estate and residential categories. Our core loan portfolio continues to be impacted by normal amortization and a higher level of payoffs that have outpaced our new loan production. New loan production continues to be impacted by weak loan demand attributable to the trend toward consumers and businesses deleveraging, the lack of consumer confidence, and a persistently sluggish economy.
The resolution of problem loans (which has the effect of lowering the loan portfolio as loans are either charged off or transferred to other real estate owned "OREO") also contributed to the overall decline. During the third quarter of 2012, loan charge-offs and loans transferred to OREO accounted for $6.0 million, or 26%, of the net reduction in total loans of $22.9 million from the second quarter of 2012. Compared to the fourth quarter of 2011, loan resolution accounted for $31.3 million, or 33%, of the net reduction in loans of $95.4 million 1.
Nonperforming assets (nonaccrual loans and OREO) totaled $127.2 million at the end of the third quarter of 2012 compared to $132.8 million at the end of the second quarter of 2012 and $137.6 million at the end of the fourth quarter of 2011. Nonaccrual loans totaled $74.1 million, a decrease of $0.7 million from the second quarter of 2012 and $0.9 million from the fourth quarter of 2011, reflective of loan charge-offs and the migration of loans to OREO, which outpaced gross additions. Gross additions to nonaccrual status were up slightly during the third quarter, but have slowed noticeably during the first nine months of 2012. The balance of OREO totaled $53.2 million at the end of the third quarter, a $4.9 million decrease from the second quarter of 2012 and $9.4 million from the fourth quarter of 2011. We continue to experience progress in our efforts to dispose of OREO by selling properties totaling $20.1 million during the first nine months of 2012. Nonperforming assets represented 5.10% of total assets at September 30, 2012 compared to 5.02% at June 30, 2012 and 5.21% at December 31, 2011.