Zombie foreclosures fall with housing policy support

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Housing policies are helping the number of vacant foreclosure homes drop, which could also mean homebuyers have been taking advantage of these properties as inventory continues to be constrained.

Nearly 1.5 million single-family homes and condos, representing 1.52% of all homes across the country, were vacant at the end of the third quarter, which is down from 1.58% in 2017, according to Attom Data Solutions' 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," Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at Attom, said in a press release.

"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. 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 continued.

There were 10,291 vacant zombie foreclosures at the end of the quarter that represented 3.38% of homes actively in the foreclosure process. This figure is down from 14,312 in the third quarter of 2017, when the zombie foreclosure rate was 4.18%.

Of all states, Tennessee and Kansas had the highest shares of vacant homes, with 2.65% and 2.5%, respectively. Flint, Mich., had the most vacant homes of all metropolitan areas, with a share of nearly 7%.

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