ATTOM Analysis Points to 1.5 Million Vacant Properties

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ATTOM Data Solutions’ second-quarter 2020 Vacant Property and Zombie Foreclosure Report shows that 1.5 million residential properties in the U.S. are vacant, representing 1.5% of all homes.

The analysis shows that about 258,000 homes are in the process of foreclosure, with about 7,650, or 3%, sitting empty as so-called “zombie foreclosures” in the second quarter. The percentage of zombie foreclosure properties is down slightly from 3.1% in the first quarter.

The total count of properties in the process of foreclosure (258,024) in the second quarter is down 8.8% from the first quarter (282,767).

The second-quarter 2020 foreclosure and zombie property numbers have dropped since the first quarter amid a federal prohibition against lenders foreclosing on government-backed mortgages until at least June 30. The ban, which affects about 70% of home loans in the U.S., was enacted under the CARES Act passed by Congress in March and then extended this month to help borrowers affected by the national coronavirus pandemic.

“The foreclosure and zombie-property picture hasn’t changed much in the second quarter of this year, as most lenders are barred from taking action against homeowners who are falling behind on their mortgages,” says Todd Teta, chief product officer with ATTOM Data Solutions. “We are in a holding pattern across the country as long as the moratorium continues. At some point, that will have to be lifted, so that banks can make their own decisions about whether to continue delaying foreclosures while the economy recovers. When that will happen is unknown, but that’s the point when we will see if foreclosure activity will remain at very low levels or rise.”

States where the percentage of zombie foreclosures are above the national average of 3% include Ohio (6.7 percent), New Mexico (5.5 percent), Indiana (4.8 percent), Illinois (4.7 percent) and Iowa (4.5 percent). The lowest rates – all less than 1.3 percent – are in South Dakota, Idaho, New Hampshire, Utah, New Jersey, Connecticut and Colorado.

New York continues to have the highest actual number of zombie properties (2,158), followed by Florida (1,136), Ohio (877), Illinois (868) and New Jersey (302).

Among 158 metropolitan areas with at least 100,000 residential properties, Peoria, Ill., continues to have the highest percentage of zombie foreclosures, at 12.9 percent, followed by Cleveland (11 percent); Syracuse, N.Y. (8.9 percent); St. Louis (7.8 percent) and Honolulu (7.8 percent).

Click here to see more details from ATTOM’s analysis.

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