7 States Infected With the Most Zombie Foreclosures

Source: Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC

Source: Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC

Zombie foreclosures are inhabiting neighborhoods across the country — albeit at a slower pace than previous years. Nearly one in every five homes in the foreclosure process is sitting vacant, abandoned by the distressed homeowner and waiting to be put out of misery.

According to a new report from RealtyTrac, 117,298 homes actively in the foreclosure process during the third quarter were vacated by the homeowners prior to a completed foreclosure, representing 18% of all active foreclosures. That is down 17% from 141,406 homes in the previous quarter, and down 23% from 152,033 homes a year earlier. These zombie properties will likely end up as short sales, foreclosure auction sales, or bank-owned sales in the future.

“The most effective preventative vaccine for the blight caused by vacant, abandoned foreclosures has proven to be a short and efficient foreclosure process,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. “Absent that, the best antidote for a zombie foreclosure infestation is a pro-active land bank program like that in Cleveland and more recently Chicago designed to aggressively take possession of vacant foreclosures and rehab or demolish them. Meanwhile, markets with lengthy and lengthening foreclosure timelines have unintentionally created a zombie foreclosure breeding ground. As we see a backlog of delayed distress finally hit the foreclosure pipeline in some of those markets, the problem is coming more to light.”

Despite the national trend, several parts of the country are facing more zombie foreclosures. In fact, 16 states witnessed increases in owner-vacated foreclosures compared to last year, led by New Jersey, North Carolina, and Oklahoma. Furthermore, 33 states posted a higher percentage of owner-vacated foreclosures than the national average of 18%. Let’s take a look at the top seven states with the highest percentage of zombie foreclosures.

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

7. Georgia

Zombie foreclosure share: 25%

Seattle, Washington

Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

6. Washington

Zombie foreclosure share: 26%

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

5. Michigan

Zombie foreclosure share: 26%

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

4. Maine

Zombie foreclosure share: 28%

Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images

Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images

3. Kansas

Zombie foreclosure share: 31%

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

2. Nevada

Zombie foreclosure share: 32%

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

1. Oregon

Zombie foreclosure share: 36%

Follow Eric on Twitter @Mr_Eric_WSCS

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