‘Zombie’ Vacancies Are Dying Out

November 7, 2018

It turns out the hot housing market is a threat to one notorious housing market scourge: the zombie foreclosure. This occurs when a home has been vacated by home owners prior to the foreclosure being completed, leaving it in limbo.

Image of vacant house over "America's Most Vacant" header

© ATTOM Data Solutions

These owner-abandoned properties comprised just 3.38 percent of all homes actively in the foreclosure process in the third quarter, a drop from 4.18 percent a year ago, according to ATTOM Data Solution’s 2018 Vacant Property and Zombie Foreclosure Report.

“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, a real estate data firm. “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.”

In fact, vacancies are tough to find in general in the housing market these days. Nearly 1.5 million U.S. single-family homes and condos were vacant at the end of the third quarter, which represents just 1.52 percent of all homes nationwide.

Blomquist notes that there are still high concentrations of zombie homes and other vacant homes in some local markets and submarkets, but overall, “those high concentrations are becoming fewer and farther between.”