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ATTOM Data Solutions' third-quarter 2020 Vacant Property and Zombie Foreclosure Report revealed that over 1.5 million residential properties in the United States are vacant, representing 1.6% of all homes.
ATTOM's report used data from public real estate records including foreclosure status, equity and owner-occupancy status. This data was then compared with updated monthly vacancy figures. In the third quarter of 2020, the analysis showed 216.000 homes are in the process of foreclosure. Of the 216,000, 7,960 (3.7%) are sitting empty, also known as a "zombie foreclosure."
Additionally, the report stated that the count of properties in foreclosure in the third quarter is down 16% from the second quarter of 2020. However, the number of properties that are considered zombie foreclosures is up 3% from the second quarter.
"Abandoned homes in foreclosure remain little more than a spot on the radar screen in most parts of the United States, posing few, if any, problems from neighborhood to neighborhood. But the latest numbers do throw a small potential red flag into the air, given the increase in the percentage of zombie foreclosures," said Todd Teta, chief product officer with ATTOM Data Solutions.
The government's CARES Act has been preventing lenders from foreclosing on homes as homeowners struggle with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. That deadline was extended to at least Dec. 31, 2020 by the Federal Housing Finance Agency.
Regionally, ATTOM's report states that the Midwest and South are the two regions with the highest zombie foreclosure rates. Additionally, zombie foreclosures are up in every state with the exception of Hawaii. New York has the highest number of zombie properties in the Northeast and California leads the Midwest region.