More Than 300,000 Homes in US are Zombie Properties

According to RealtyTrac, a real estate information company based in Irvine, California, 301,874 “zombie” properties are found in the United States. These are foreclosed properties that homeowners have moved out and left a vacant property that is vulnerable to degradation and vandalism. Zombie

Among the states, Florida has the most zombie properties with a total of 90,556 vacant homes in foreclosure. Illinois is in second place with 31,668. California is third with 28,821 zombie properties. The number of homes in foreclosure or bank-owned increased by 9 percent to 1.5 million properties across the nation in the first quarter of 2013 compared to the previous year.

10.9 million homeowners across the United States are at risk because they owe more than the worth of their property. RealtyTrac first analyzed data on zombie properties after Reuters released a report last January about the special problem of zombie titles.

According to the Reuters report, people who left their homes didn’t realize that their names were still on the deed and that they were still liable for taxes and other bills connected to the abandoned property. There are cases where the homeowners leave after getting a notice from the bank of a foreclosure sale but the bank never follow through with the plan.

Zombie properties turn into neighborhood eyesores as well as havens for criminal activity. Among the states, Kentucky leads in percentage. It has less than 1,000 zombie properties but it represents 54 percent of the state’s foreclosure inventory. Zombie properties in Indiana, Washington, Oregon, and Nevada have 50 percent or more of properties in foreclosure.

There might be more zombie properties in reality compared with RealtyTrac’s numbers. For instance in Florida, the company didn’t include any property that has been in foreclosure for more than the state average of 853 days. The report also didn’t consider cases where a bank opt not to follow through on a foreclosure judgment.