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The Spread of Zombie Properties

According to a new report, 1.52 million U.S. single-family homes and condos in the United States are vacant, representing 1.5% of all homes. The ATTOM Data Solutions Q1 2020 Vacant Property and Zombie Foreclosure Report, which analyzes publicly recorded real estate data collected by ATTOM Data Solution, reports that about 282,800 homes are in the process of foreclosure, with about 8,700, or 3.1% sitting empty as “zombie” foreclosures. The percentage is up from 3% in the fourth quarter of 2019, but still significantly less than 5.8% in the first quarter of 2014.

The total number of properties in the process of foreclosure in the first quarter of 2020 is down 1.9% from the fourth quarter of 2019, while the number vacant foreclosures is up 1.7%, meaning that the level of zombie properties rose while the count of foreclosures dipped. Since 2016, the number facing possible foreclosure is down 27%, while the tally of unoccupied properties in the foreclosure pipeline has declined 53%.

States that had the greatest zombie foreclosure rate with 500 or more properties in the foreclosure process and 100 or more zombie foreclosures included Ohio (6.8%), Indiana (5.1%), Illinois (4.7%), Oklahoma (4.5%) and Maryland (4.3%).

New York continues to have the highest actual number of zombie properties (2,206), followed by Florida (1,390), Ohio (977), Illinois (943), Ohio (823) and Pennsylvania (317).

“Homes abandoned by owners facing a possible foreclosure remain little more than a blip on the radar across the country, as one of the main scourges of the Great Recession continues to show little or no signs of re-emerging,” said Todd Teta, Chief Product Officer with ATTOM Data Solutions. “Even with the slight increase in these so-called ‘zombie foreclosures,’ so far this year, there are still pockets of distress with elevated numbers of abandoned homes. But in yet another reflection of how the national housing market is still booming, you can drive through many towns and not pass a single such property.”

About Author: Seth Welborn

Seth Welborn is a Reporter for DS News and MReport. A graduate of Harding University, he has covered numerous topics across the real estate and default servicing industries. Additionally, he has written B2B marketing copy for Dallas-based companies such as AT&T. An East Texas Native, he also works part-time as a photographer.
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