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Zombie Homes Hold Steady During Foreclosure Moratoria

Zombie foreclosures make up 3% of all properties currently in foreclosure across the nation as of the second quarter, which is little changed from Q1, according to the latest data from ATTOM Data Solutions. That means 3% of all homes in foreclosure are vacant. 

In raw numbers, that’s 7,650 zombie homes, out of 258,000 homes in foreclosure. In terms of total housing across the nation, that’s one in every 13,000 of the nation’s total 99.2 million homes. 

The zombie foreclosure rate is down just 0.1 percentage point from the first quarter of the year, which is unsurprising as 70% of home loan borrowers are currently protected by a foreclosure moratorium enacted in March and lasting until at least the end of June. 

“We are in a holding pattern across the country as long as the moratorium continues,” said Todd Teta, Chief Product Officer at ATTOM. 

When the moratorium is lifted, “that’s the point when we will see if foreclosure activity will remain at very low levels or rise,” Teta said. 

New York has the highest total number of zombie properties with 2,158. However, the state overall does not make it into the top five states in terms of the percentage of zombie properties compared to total properties in foreclosure.

The states with the highest rate of zombie properties are Ohio (6.7%), New Mexico (5.5%), Indiana (4.8%), Illinois (4.7%), and Iowa (4.5%). 

In total Ohio has 877 properties in zombie status and is home to two of the large metros with the highest zombie foreclosure rate: Peoria, Illinois (12.9%); and Cleveland, Ohio (11%). 

Other metros with high rates of zombie properties were Syracuse, New York (8.9%); St. Louis (7.8%); and Honolulu (7.8%).

New York, Florida, and Ohio were also home to the ZIP codes with some of the highest zombie rates among ZIP codes that had at least 100 properties in some stage of foreclosure. 

At the other end of the spectrum, the states with the lowest share of vacant properties in foreclosure are South Dakota, Idaho, New Hampshire, Utah, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Colorado. In all of these states less than 1.3% of all properties in foreclosure are zombie properties. 

The large metros with the lowest percentage of vacant properties in the foreclosure process are San Francisco (0.6%), Austin, Texas (0.8%); Philadelphia (1.1%); Phoenix (1.3%); and Boston (1.4%). 

The vacancy rate for all residential properties across the nation was 1.5% as of Q2, amounting to about 1.5 million properties total. The highest vacancy rates were recorded in Kansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Oklahoma, all of which had vacancy rates of 2.6%. Indiana followed closely with a vacancy rate of 2.5%

The lowest vacancy rates were recorded in New Hampshire (0.4%), Vermont (0.4%), Delaware (0.5%), Idaho (0.6%) and North Dakota (0.7%).

Indiana is home to the highest rate of vacancies among investor-owned properties. In Indiana, 8.4% of investor properties are vacant. Ohio ranked next with 6.6%, followed by Minnesota (6.1%) and Mississippi (5.7%).

About Author: Krista F. Brock

Krista Franks Brock is a professional writer and editor who has covered the mortgage banking and default servicing sectors since 2011. Previously, she served as managing editor of DS News and Southern Distinction, a regional lifestyle publication. Her work has appeared in a variety of print and online publications, including Consumers Digest, Dallas Style and Design, DS News and DSNews.com, MReport and theMReport.com. She holds degrees in journalism and art from the University of Georgia.
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