ATTOM, a leading curator of real estate data nationwide for land and property data, today released its second-quarter 2022 Vacant Property and Zombie Foreclosure Report showing that 1.3 million (1,304,007) residential properties in the United States sit vacant. That represents 1.3 percent, or one in 76 homes, across the nation.
The report analyzes publicly recorded real estate data collected by ATTOM — including foreclosure status, equity and owner-occupancy status — matched against monthly updated vacancy data.
The report also reveals that 259,166 residential properties in the U.S. are in the process of foreclosure in the second quarter of this year, up 12.7 percent from the first quarter of 2022 and up 15.9 percent from the second quarter of 2021. This is also the third straight quarter that the count of pre-foreclosure properties has gone up since a nationwide foreclosure moratorium, imposed early during the Coronavirus pandemic, was lifted at the end of July 2021.
Among those pre-foreclosure properties, 7,569 sit vacant in the second quarter of 2022, meaning that the number of zombie-foreclosure properties went up quarterly by 2.8 percent.
“The incidence of zombie-foreclosures tends to be higher in cases where the foreclosure process has dragged on for many months and sometimes even for years,” said Rick Sharga, executive vice president of market intelligence at ATTOM. “We’re now seeing properties where the borrower was already in default prior to the government’s moratorium re-enter the foreclosure process, and undoubtedly some of these homes will have been vacated over the past 26 months.”
The number of zombie-foreclosures does remain down 6.3 percent from a year ago and continues to represent just a tiny segment of the nation’s total stock of 99.7 million residential properties. Just one of every 13,171 homes in the second quarter of 2022 are vacant and in foreclosure, meaning that most neighborhoods have none. The portion of pre-foreclosure properties that have been abandoned into zombie status also continues to decline, down from 3.6 percent a year ago to 3.2 percent in the first quarter of 2022 and 2.9 percent in the second quarter of this year.
But the recent increase in zombie properties is the first since the moratorium ended. The portion of all residential properties sitting empty in the foreclosure process has grown 1.9 percent in the second quarter, up from one in 13,424 in the first quarter of this year.
The upward second-quarter foreclosure trends – in both overall and zombie-property counts – add to a list of measures showing how the decade-long U.S. housing market boom remains strong but also faces a possible slowdown this year.
Median single-family home prices have shot up 17 percent over the past year and typical home-seller profits remain historically high, at nearly 50 percent. Homeowner equity continues rising, greatly limiting the likelihood that homeowners facing foreclosure will simply walk away from their homes.
“According to our equity report, almost 90 percent of homeowners in foreclosure have positive equity,” Sharga added. “Having equity gives financially-distressed homeowners an opportunity for a relatively soft landing – selling their home at a profit rather than losing everything to a foreclosure. That factor alone should keep the number of zombie-foreclosures from rising too much.”
The median home value nationwide went up just 3 percent from the third quarter of last year to the first quarter of this year and home-seller profits have ticked down in 2022. At the same time, investment returns for speculators who flip properties have hit their lowest point since 2008. Beyond that, an estimated 1.5 million to 2 million homeowners fell behind on mortgages after the pandemic wiped out millions of jobs prior to the economy recovering last year.
Zombie foreclosures up quarterly but still down annually
A total of 7,569 residential properties facing possible foreclosure have been vacated by their owners nationwide in the second quarter of 2022, up slightly from 7,363 in the first quarter of 2022 but still down from up from 8,078 in the second quarter of 2021.
Amid numbers that remain extremely low, the biggest increases from the first quarter of 2022 to the second quarter of 2022 in states with at least 50 zombie foreclosures are in Michigan, (zombie properties up 74 percent, from 54 to 94), Arizona (up 56 percent, from 32 to 50), Georgia (up 29 percent, from 62 to 80), Nevada (up 26 percent, from 68 to 86) and Iowa (up 17 percent, from 132 to 155).
The biggest quarterly decreases among states with at least 50 zombie foreclosures are in Massachusetts (zombie properties down 13 percent, from 62 to 54), Missouri (down 13 percent, from 63 to 55), New Jersey (down 7 percent, from 275 to 257), New Mexico (down 3 percent, from 78 to 76) and New York (down 2 percent, from 2,074 to 2,041).
Overall vacancy rates down annually in most of nation
The vacancy rate for all residential properties in the U.S. has dropped to 1.31 percent in the second quarter of 2022 (one in 76 properties). That’s down from 1.37 percent in the first quarter of 2022 (one in 73) and from 1.42 percent in the second quarter of last year (one in 70).
States with the biggest annual drops are Tennessee (down from 2.42 percent of all homes in the second quarter of 2021 to 1.55 percent in the second quarter of this year), Oregon (down from 1.84 percent to 1.01 percent), Maryland (down from 1.67 percent to 1.05 percent), Wisconsin (down from 1.36 percent to 0.76 percent) and Minnesota (down from 1.54 percent to 0.95 percent).
Other high-level findings from the second quarter of 2022:
- Among metropolitan statistical areas in the U.S. with at least 100,000 residential properties and at least 100 properties facing possible foreclosure in the second quarter of 2022, the highest zombie rates are in Peoria, IL (11.3 percent of properties in the foreclosure process are vacant); Wichita, KS (11.2 percent); Cleveland, OH (9.5 percent); Syracuse, NY (8.9 percent) and South Bend, IN (8.6 percent).
- Aside from Cleveland, the highest zombie-foreclosure rates in major metro areas with at least 500,000 residential properties and at least 100 homes facing foreclosure in the second quarter of 2022 are in Baltimore, MD (8.3 percent of homes in the foreclosure process are vacant); Portland, OR (6.5 percent); Indianapolis, IN (5.9 percent) and Pittsburgh, PA (5.9 percent).
- In the 164 metro areas analyzed for this report, those where zombie homes represent the largest shares of all residential properties in the second quarter of 2022 are Cleveland, OH (one in 1,426 homes are empty and facing foreclosure); Peoria, IL (one in 1,565); Albany, NY (one in 1,725); Syracuse, NY (one in 2,195) and Rochester, NY (one in 2,964).
- Among the 27.9 million investor-owned homes throughout the U.S. in the second quarter of 2022, about 905,000 are vacant, or 3.2 percent. The highest levels of vacant investor-owned homes are in Indiana (6.9 percent), Kansas (5.8 percent), Oklahoma (5.3 percent), Alabama (5.1 percent) and Ohio (5 percent).
- Among the roughly 3,300 foreclosed, bank-owned homes in the U.S. during the second quarter of 2022, 10.8 percent are vacant. In states with at least 50 bank-owned homes, the largest vacancy rates are in Pennsylvania (19.9 percent vacant), Indiana (17.2 percent), Texas (16.4 percent), Ohio (16 percent) and Illinois (15.9 percent).
- The highest zombie-foreclosure rates in U.S. counties with at least 500 properties in the foreclosure process during the second quarter of 2022 are in Broome County (Binghamton), NY (11.8 percent of pre-foreclosure homes are empty); Cuyahoga County (Cleveland), OH (10.8 percent); Onondaga County (Syracuse), NY (9.4 percent); Pinellas County (Clearwater), FL (9.3 percent); and Oneida County, NY (outside Syracuse) (8.3 percent).
- The lowest zombie rates among counties with at least 500 properties in foreclosure in the second quarter of 2022 are in Contra Costa County, CA (outside Oakland) (no pre-foreclosure homes are empty); Hudson County, NJ (outside New York, NY) (0.3 percent); Atlantic County (Atlantic City), NJ (0.4 percent); Mecklenburg County (Charlotte), NC (0.5 percent) and Sacramento County, CA (0.6 percent).
- Among 424 counties with at least 50,000 residential properties, those with the largest portion of total homes in zombie foreclosure status in the second quarter of 2022 are Broome County (Binghamton), NY (one of every 648 properties); Cuyahoga County (Cleveland), OH (one in 933); Peoria County, IL (one in 1,144); Suffolk County (eastern Long Island), NY (one in 1,165) and Oneida County, NY (outside Syracuse) (one in 1,437).