RIP: Zombie homes on the decline

Few abandoned residences in foreclosure, thanks to market boom, pandemic laws

National /
Oct.October 29, 2021 06:45 PM

The housing market has risen from the dead since its scary crash, and zombie properties that once littered the landscape will be hard to find this Halloween — other than those decorated for the occasion.

Zombie properties — homes that are both vacant and in foreclosure — are on the decline across the country as values climb to record highs and pandemic protections prevent lenders from removing delinquent borrowers, according to a report by property database ATTOM.

Just one of every 13,292 homes are vacant and in foreclosure, the study found. That is down from one in 13,060 in the third quarter.

“Most neighborhoods literally have no empty, blight-inducing homes at some stage in the foreclosure process,” Attom reported.

About 1 in 75 homes, or 1.3 percent, is vacant, but they do not qualify for zombie status because they are not in any stage of the foreclosure process.

Some 223,256 of the nation’s 98.8 million residential properties, or 1 out of every 442, are in pre-foreclosure. But again, zombie status eludes the vast majority of them because they remain occupied. Only 3.3 percent of those homes have been abandoned, down from 3.5 percent in the third quarter.

New York has the most zombie properties in the U.S., with 2,049, followed by Ohio (925), Florida (907), Illinois (758) and Pennsylvania (356).

However, the report predicted more in the near future.

Zombie properties are “still totally off the radar screen in most parts of the country,” Todd Teta, ATTOM’s chief product officer, said in a statement. “But that’s probably going to change soon because lenders can now return to court and take back properties from owners who can’t keep up on their mortgage payments.”





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