Vacant property rate posts slight decline in Q3

by Francis Monfort30 Oct 2017
The rate of vacant properties in the US declined from the year-ago period, according to the 2017 US Residential Vacant Property and Zombie Foreclosure Report released by ATTOM Data Solutions.

At the end of the third quarter, there were 1,367,793 US residential properties of one to four units that were vacant, representing 1.58% of all US residential properties. The third-quarter rate compares to 1.63% in the year-ago period. Despite the decrease, ATTOM found that vacancy rates increased year over year in 54% of metropolitan statistical areas covered in the report, such as Chicago, New York, St. Louis, Baltimore, and Phoenix.

Additionally, the report found a 22% year-over-year decrease in the number of vacant "zombie" pre-foreclosure properties, or those that have started the foreclosure process but have not yet been repossessed by the foreclosing lender. There 14,312 zombie properties as of the end of the third quarter, a new low. The number of vacant bank-owned properties decreased 48% from a year ago to 24,026 as of the end of the third quarter.

"Zombie foreclosures have dwindled dramatically over the last four years as a supply-starved housing has soaked up even some of the most highly distressed properties," ATTOM Senior Vice President Daren Blomquist said. "There are still pockets of the country with high zombie foreclosure rates, and high vacant property rates in general, primarily in the Rust Belt and parts of the Northeast and Southeast — driven in large part by a high share of non-owner occupied vacant properties in those areas."

San Jose, Calif., had the lowest vacancy rate among metro areas covered in the report at 0.23%. Other metros with the lowest vacancy rates were Fort Collins, Colo., at 0.24%; Lancaster, Pa., at 0.26%; Manchester, N.H. at 0.31%; and Provo, Utah at 0.34%.

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