In movies about the rise of the undead – whether raised by dark powers, alien mushrooms, or a rogue supervirus – zombie armies almost always have one thing in common: they move slowly.
In the real estate sector, this trope also appears to be true, with the march of so-called “zombie foreclosures” barely budging this quarter, according to a pre-Halloween report from ATTOM Data Solutionseven though this metric should inevitably grow in the long run.
“Zombie seizures are on hold this quarter, at least for now,” said Todd Teta, chief product officer at ATTOM, in a statement. “They are still totally off the radar screen in most parts of the country, with none in most neighborhoods…depending on how quickly cases move through the courts, it’s probably only a matter of time. before the zombie properties start to come back into the mix. ”
Zombie foreclosures – both vacant and foreclosed properties – currently make up 3.3% of all foreclosed properties, which is actually down a fraction of a percent from the third quarter of this year. year. Fewer than 7,500 residential properties nationwide are “zombies” by this definition, even though foreclosures have increased overall.
There are 223,256 residences being foreclosed at the moment, according to ATTOM, up 3.6% from last quarter and 11.6% from the same quarter of 2020, as the end of protections in September allowed more banks to begin prosecuting delinquent borrowers. . At the same time, overall vacancy rates fell slightly as housing demand kept residences from sitting empty.
In total, one in 75 properties, or 1.33%, was vacant in the fourth quarter of 2021, compared to 1.56% a year ago. According to the report, investor-owned properties were more than twice as likely to be vacant, with 3.4% of the 27 million institutionally owned homes vacant.
Rich Sharga, executive vice president of ATTOM subsidiary RealtyTrac, attributed the lack of abandoned properties to historic home price appreciation and the continued desire for homes, even though the market has cooled slightly in recent months. .
“The market dynamics – strong demand coupled with a historically low inventory of homes for sale – suggest that we shouldn’t see a significant increase in zombie foreclosure properties anytime soon, even with increasing foreclosure activity,” a- he said in a statement. “Most homeowners in financial difficulty should be able to sell their home rather than go through a lengthy foreclosure process where they end up giving up the property.”
army of the dead
Zombie properties often end up as ugly, run-down spots on a neighborhood – potentially a sign of bad things to come in the area, as nearly all homeowners would rather sell a foreclosed home than abandon it. Thankfully, this hasn’t spread across the country just yet, with half of all US states seeing an overall drop in zombie properties from last quarter.
But a few metros and regions have seen an alarming concentration of abandoned homes, with the top five eligible metros seeing their share of “zombie” properties hit more than 10%. These cities are:
– Portland, Oregon – 15.3%
– Wichita, Kansas – 15%
– Cleveland, Ohio – 11.7%
– Fort Wayne, Indiana – 11%
– Honolulu, Hawaii – 10.6%
A few states also continue to have an outsized share of zombie foreclosures, including New York with 2,049 total properties, Ohio with 925, Florida with 907 and Illinois with 758, according to the report. New York’s Broome County has the dubious distinction of having the highest proportion of zombie foreclosures to total properties, with one in 640 homes abandoned and in foreclosure (compared to one in 13,292 nationally).
New Jersey appears to be a safe zone from the spread of zombies, with four out of five counties having the lowest number of zombie seizures. These counties are Atlantic County, Mercer County, Bergen County, and Morris County, all with less than 1% zombie state foreclosures.
Overall, zombie seizures remain concentrated in the Midwest and Northeast, according to ATTOM.
Jesse Williams is RISMedia’s Associate Online Editor. Email him your real estate news ideas at [email protected].