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Florida Leads United States in “Zombie” Foreclosures

“Zombie” foreclosures—defined by Money as homes abandoned by their owners but not yet taken over by the banks—are a persistent problem in the housing market. According to RealtyTrac, Florida leads the United States in zombie foreclosures, the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Zombie Foreclosures in General

Money provides the following facts related to zombie foreclosures in the United States, per RealtyTrac:

  • 141,406 zombie foreclosures remain across the United States;
  • The number of zombie foreclosures across the United States is down 16 percent from a year ago;
  • Zombie foreclosures increased in 10 states and in D.C. this quarter; and
  • The longer the foreclosure process lasts, the more likely owners are to abandon the property, and foreclosures take the longest in New York and Florida.

Zombie Foreclosures in Florida

Florida’s housing market has been making strides toward recovery, but, according to RealtyTrac, the state still leads the nation in foreclosures, the Miami Herald reports. As of May 2014, Florida’s foreclosure rate was down 30 percent from the year prior, but May also marked the eighth month in a row that Florida had the nation’s highest foreclosure rate.

Here are some facts and statistics related to zombie foreclosures in Florida, again per RealtyTrac:

  • Florida accounts for 49,000 zombie foreclosures, which is more than a third of the nation’s total number of zombie foreclosures (Tampa Bay Times);
  • Foreclosures in Florida take an average of 411 days, second only to New York, where foreclosures take an average of 418 days (Money);
  • Florida courts had 218,000 pending foreclosures as of April 1, and judges are clearing about 20,000 cases a month statewide (Tampa Bay Times);
  • During the second quarter of 2014, the region of South Florida ranked second in the nation in zombie foreclosures (TheRealDeal);
  • South Florida accounted for approximately 13,000 zombie foreclosures during the second quarter of 2014, second only to New York City, which had 13,574 zombie foreclosures (The Real Deal);
  • Of the 70,909 homes in foreclosure in South Florida in the second quarter of 2014, 18 percent were abandoned (The Real Deal); and
  • Zombie foreclosures in South Florida decreased by 7 percent year over year (The Real Deal).

The Problem of Zombie Foreclosures

Zombie foreclosures present a variety of problems for communities, as Money outlines:

  • They can drag down property values;
  • They can become hotbeds of crime;
  • They can drain cities’ budgets;
  • They can negatively impact the quality of life and economic opportunities of people who live around them; and
  • They can hinder neighborhood-wide and city-wide redevelopment.

What’s worse, community advocates and real estate analysts believe the remaining zombie foreclosures may present the greatest challenge yet, as many of them are in the worst condition and in the least desirable neighborhoods.

Further, zombie foreclosures can present problems for homeowners. As the title for a zombie foreclosure has not yet transferred out of the homeowner’s name, the homeowner still has legal obligations related to the property.

Dealing with a foreclosure can be a difficult experience to handle alone. If you have questions regarding foreclosures or foreclosure defense in Florida, contact an experienced attorney at the Law Offices of Larry E. Bray, P.A. with locations in West Palm Beach and Boca Raton.

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