Hundreds of thousands of homes in the US are now labeled as “zombie” foreclosures. That’s when the owner of a foreclosed home leaves only to find out years later that he or she still legally owns the home and is on the hook for property taxes and other fees. Such cases occur in more than a third of foreclosures, industry figures show.
Although it’s hard to quantify exactly how many homes fall into the category, real estate information company RealtyTrac says that, in the first three months of the year, roughly 302,000 homes qualified as “zombie” properties because the owner has moved out, but the bank has not yet taken possession.
Most of these homes are located in Florida, where RealtyTrac identified some 91,000 zombie properties. Distantly, Illinois had nearly 32,000 such foreclosures, and California had roughly 29,000.
Although they had fewer such cases in total, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Nevada, Oregon and Washington have the highest percentages of zombie foreclosures at 50% or more.