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Foreclosures Still a Tiny Part of the Market

Zombie homes – vacant foreclosures after owners walked away – rose 5.4% in 1Q 2023, but only 1 out of 12,415 U.S. homes is vacant and in foreclosure.

IRVINE, Calif. – Attom’s first-quarter (1Q) 2023 Vacant Property and Zombie Foreclosure Report found that 1.3 million (1,284,048) residential properties in the United States sit vacant (1.3% or one in 79 homes). However, not all those homes are at-risk or in foreclosure.

The report finds that 298,533 U.S. residential properties are somewhere in the process of foreclosure, up 5% from 4Q 2022 and up 29.9% from 1Q 2022.

The numbers can be deceiving, though, since the nation had a foreclosure moratorium during the pandemic. Some foreclosures today are possibly holdovers from foreclosures that would have occurred during the moratorium that began in early 2020 and ended in the middle of 2021.

Among those pre-foreclosure properties, 8,141 are zombie foreclosures – pre-foreclosure properties abandoned by owners – in the 1Q 2023, up 5.4% from the prior quarter and up 10.6% year-to-year.

The count of zombie properties grew in each of the last four quarters, but despite that, the number of zombie-foreclosures remains historically low, with little impact on the nation’s total stock of 101.1 million residential properties. Just one of every 12,415 homes in the first quarter of 2023 is vacant and in foreclosure. That ratio is up from one in 12,963 in 4Q 2022 and 13,424 in 1Q 2022.

“The potential damage from zombie foreclosures and the decay they can cause remains far off the radar screen throughout much of the country,” says Rob Barber, CEO for Attom. “Although, there are few signs that indicate this could change over the coming months, the numbers continue ticking upward, along with foreclosures in general. That’s something we will continue to keep an eye on, especially in economically distressed communities.”

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