RealtyTrac released its U.S. Foreclosure Market Report for February, reporting foreclosure filings were 112,498, down 10 percent from January and down 27 percent from the previous year. Foreclosure filings in the month of February represent the lowest monthly total since December, 2006—a more than 7-year low. However, owner-vacated foreclosures, dubbed zombie foreclosures, are creating problems by dragging down home values, and can create a climate of uncertainty and low inventory in local housing markets.
As of the first quarter of 2014, a total of 152,033 properties in the foreclosure process had been vacated by the homeowner, representing 21 percent of all properties in the foreclosure process. Owner-vacated properties have been in the foreclosure process an average of 1,031 days. The state with the most owner-vacated foreclosures was Florida with 54,908 properties, representing 36 percent of the national total. Illinois had 15,512 owner-vacated properties, and New York had 10,880. New Jersey with 8,595 properties and Ohio's 7,780 rounded out the top 5 states for owner-vacated foreclosures.
The National Fair Housing Alliance added to a complaint with the Department of Housing and Urban Development of housing discrimination by U.S. Bank, N.A. The group alleges that U.S. Bank maintains and markets foreclosed homes in white neighborhoods in a much better manner than in African-American and Latino neighborhoods. The complaint adds the cities of Dallas, New Orleans, New Haven, and Hampton Road, Virginia to a previous filing, bringing the total to 35 cities in 15 metropolitan areas.