ATTOM: Zombie Foreclosures Basically Nonexistent in Q2

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Due to rising home prices and strong mortgage performance, zombie foreclosures continue to be basically nonexistent, according to ATTOM.

A zombie foreclosure occurs when a homeowner who is deeply delinquent walks away from their property intentionally because the mortgage loan amount exceeds the value of the house – and the foreclosure process is carried out while the property sits vacant.

According to the firm’s second quarter 2024 Vacant Property and Zombie Foreclosure Report, roughly 1.3 million residential properties in the U.S. sit vacant.

That figure represents about 1.3%, or one in 79 homes, across the nation – the same as in the first quarter of this year.

The report analyzes data including foreclosure status, equity and owner-occupancy status — matched against monthly updated vacancy data.

And it doesn’t look like there will be a rise in zombies anytime soon: The report reveals that 237,208 residential properties in the U.S. are in the process of foreclosure, down 2.3% from the first quarter and down 23.9% from the second quarter of 2023.

“Predictions of a huge spike in foreclosures after the (COVID-19) moratorium, with the potential for a surge in zombie properties, never came true,” says Rob Barber, CEO for ATTOM, in a statement. “Indeed, the opposite has happened, as abandoned homes in foreclosure continue to get harder and harder to find around the country.”

“Some signs have popped up over the past year that the long U.S. housing market boom is giving back some of its gains, which could lead to declining equity and more foreclosures,” Barber adds. “We are still far from losing the benefit of having zombie properties nearly disappear from the housing market landscape.”

Photo: Luis Georg Müller

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