Zombie Foreclosures a Thing of the Past – Or Are They?


We’re down to the last of the zombies.

Zombie foreclosures, that is… you know, the foreclosures where the owner “walked away” because they were seriously “underwater” on their mortgage, without bothering to notify their mortgage servicer?

As of the end of the third quarter, there were only about 10,291 zombie foreclosures in the U.S., down from 14,312 a year ago, according to ATTOM Data Solutions.

Zombie foreclosures represented just 3.38% of all homes actively in the foreclosure process, down from 4.18% a year ago.

Currently, close to 1.5 million single-family homes and condos are vacant, representing 1.52% of all homes nationwide. That’s down from 1.58% at this time in 2017.

“The number of vacant foreclosures is now less than one-fourth of the more than 44,000 in 2013 when we first began tracking these zombie homes,” says Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at ATTOM Data Solutions, in ATTOM’s 2018 Vacant Property and Zombie Foreclosure Report. “Policy solutions such as land banks designed to mitigate the ripple effects of vacant properties on neighborhoods and cities have had a substantial impact, and a booming housing market in many areas of the country is lifting all boats.”

Still, as Blomquist notes, there are pockets of lingering zombie activity scattered throughout the country.

“There are still high concentrations of zombie homes and other vacant homes in some local markets and submarkets, but those high concentrations are becoming fewer and farther between,” he says.

States with the highest share of vacant homes in the third quarter included Tennessee (2.65%), Kansas (2.50%), Oklahoma (2.49%), Mississippi (2.47%) and Indiana (2.45%).

Cities with the highest share of vacant homes included Flint, Mich. (6.99%); Youngstown, Ohio (3.80%); Beaumont-Port Arthur, Texas (3.71%); Myrtle Beach, S.C. (3.70%); and Mobile, Ala. (3.69%).

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