Nearly 1.4 million residential properties were vacant as of the end of the third quarter, according to new statistics from ATTOM Data Solutions
. This represents 1.58 percent of all residential properties, a slight decline from the 1.63 percent level recorded in the third quarter of 2016.
Nonetheless, the number of vacant “zombie” pre-foreclosure properties—which have started the foreclosure process but have not yet been repossessed by the foreclosing lender—fell by 22 percent from a year ago to 14,312 as of the end of the third quarter. The number of vacant bank-owned properties decreased 48 percent from a year ago to 24,026 as of the end of Q3 2017.
However, vacant property rates increased from a year ago in 81 of the 149 metro areas analyzed by ATTOM. This includes major markets such as Chicago, New York, St. Louis, Baltimore and Phoenix.
“Zombie foreclosures have dwindled dramatically over the last four years as a supply-starved housing has soaked up even some of the most highly distressed properties,” said Daren Blomquist, Senior Vice President at ATTOM Data Solutions. “There are still pockets of the country with high zombie foreclosure rates, and high vacant property rates in general, primarily in the Rust Belt and parts of the Northeast and Southeast—driven in large part by a high share of non-owner occupied vacant properties in those areas.”