Zombie property numbers inch up again

Zombie property numbers inch up again

The number of vacant pre-foreclosure properties in the United States rose slightly as the fourth quarter got underway, according to Attom, a property data provider.

The latest count for “zombie” properties is 7,722, up from the 7,702 reported at the outset of the third quarter, and 7,432 a year ago, Attom’s analysis of public data shows. Gains were largest in Kansas, Nevada, Connecticut, Georgia and Indiana.

While the numbers show so-called zombies are slowly rising, they’re still “nearly extinct” due to the fact that vacant and abandoned properties were among the few types of houses not bound by coronavirus-related restrictions on distressed homes, according to Attom.

“Now that the foreclosure ban has been lifted, we’re likely to see a gradual return to pre-pandemic levels,” Rick Sharga, executive vice president of market intelligence at Attom said in a press release. 

Although the number of zombie properties has risen and the housing market has cooled recently, vacancies have continued to decrease at a gradual pace, according to Attom.

The share of residential properties in the United States that were vacant in the latest quarterly data Attom analyzed fell to 1.26% or more than 1.26 million properties, from 1.28% or nearly 1.3 million three months prior, and 1.33% a year earlier.

“With demand from both traditional homebuyers and investors still relatively strong, and the inventory of homes for sale still very low, [ the vacancy rate] for residential homes is about as low as it’s ever been,” Sharga said.

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