The state of Florida has the highest number of houses that are vacant while they are in some stage of repossession, according to a recent analysis by RealtyTrac. These vacant houses, known as “zombie” foreclosures, are troublesome to the local housing market since they are not marketable yet and also not being cared for. The total number of zombie foreclosures in Florida was 90,556 during the first quarter of 2013.
Not all foreclosed homes are vacant. In fact, only 35 percent of the more than 12,000 foreclosures here in Orange County are presently “zombies” according to the newly released data.
These statistics speak to the general state of the economy in Florida, where many homeowners are still struggling to get back on their feet in the wake of the recession. As we’ve discussed previously, more flexible policies and better customer service from the nation’s biggest banks would likely have prevented many of these foreclosures if loan modification had been more widely available and banks had been willing to work with homeowners who could afford some type of payment, even if it was smaller than the original amount. In addition, some of these foreclosures may have been wrongfully pursued by banks using robo-signing to quickly push delinquent loans into foreclosure.
Florida homeowners who are facing foreclosure do have options to stay in their homes and stop the foreclosure process either through a loan modification or through declaring bankruptcy. Experienced foreclosure prevention attorneys can often help homeowners choose the option that is the best for their particular situation.
Source: Orlando Sentinel. “Florida leads U.S. in number of ‘zombies’ foreclosures,” Mary Shanklin, March 28, 2013.
More information about stopping foreclosures in Florida can be found on our bankruptcy site.