Are 'Zombie Foreclosures' Haunting Your Neighborhood?

By John Voket


I am well aware by the ads and displays for end-of-year holidays, that Halloween is over. But if you are living, considering buying, or selling a home in one of 16 cities across the U.S., 'zombie foreclosures' may be haunting you.

According to RealtyTrac® ( and its Q3 2014 "Zombie Foreclosure Report," 117,298 homes actively in the foreclosure process had been vacated by their owners prior to a completed foreclosure. That's nearly one in every five of all active foreclosures.

While it's not a zombie apocalypse, these vacant properties will likely end up as short sales, foreclosure auction sales or bank-owned sales in the future. If there is an upside, those third-quarter owner-vacated foreclosures stats are down 17 percent from the second quarter, and 23 percent from a year ago.

This may be of little consolation to the hot zones RealtyTrac® says pervade Florida, which documented the most zombie foreclosures by far of any state, with 35,913. New York posted the second highest total (12,683), followed by New Jersey (12,133), Illinois (8,678), and Ohio (4,981).

New York saw the most owner-vacated foreclosures of any metro area nationwide, with 13,366 - 12 percent of all properties in foreclosure; followed by Miami (9,869); Tampa (7,509); Chicago (7,326); Philadelphia (5,405); and Orlando (3,732).

Drilling deeper into RealtyTrac® data: 33 states posted a higher percentage of owner-vacated foreclosures than the national average of 18 percent, led by Oregon (36 percent), Nevada (32 percent), Kansas (31 percent) and Maine (28 percent).

Other states with above-average vacant foreclosure rates included Michigan and Washington (26 percent), Georgia (25 percent), along with Arizona and Indiana (24 percent).

Among cities with a population of more than 200,000, 117 had a higher percentage of owner-vacated foreclosures than the national average of 18 percent, including Las Vegas, Nev. (33 percent), Tampa (28 percent), Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, Fla. (28 percent), Rochester, N.Y. (27 percent), Lakeland, Fla. (27 percent), and Baltimore (25 percent).


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