Markets & Economy

Plague of ‘zombie’ foreclosures declines

RealtyTrac data indicates that owner-vacated foreclosures are on a downslope

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The number of owner-vacated “zombie” foreclosures at the end of the second quarter stood at 127,021, representing a 10 percent decline in volume when compared with the same quarter last year. According to recent data from RealtyTrac, zombie foreclosures -- a situation where the distressed homeowner vacates the property -- account for roughly 1 in 5 properties in foreclosure nationally. Because the average estimated market value of an owner-vacated foreclosure -- nearly $196,000 -- is 22 percent below the average estimated market value of an owner-occupied foreclosure, it’s in a foreclosing bank’s best interest to have a home occupied during the process. “A growing number of states and cities have enacted public policy measures to combat the problem of 'zombie' foreclosures, and we are seeing the results of those efforts in the overall decrease nationwide, as well as in several hard-hit markets such as Chicago, Miami and Cleveland,” said Daren Blomquist, vice pres...