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Zombie foreclosures drop in Charlotte metro

There’s good news in time for Halloween. Zombie foreclosures in the Charlotte metro area have fallen nearly 50 percent over the last year.

According to an analysis by RealtyTrac, in the third quarter of this year, 108 homes — or 3.3 percent of foreclosed homes in the Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia area — were vacant.

That’s down 48 percent from 207 homes in the third quarter of 2014, and a 23 percent drop from 141 residences in the second quarter of this year.

With zombie foreclosures, a homeowner will move out after the foreclosure has started, but for some reason the process does not continue. The sale of the property is not held or the title of the property is not transferred to a new owner – often the bank – leaving the title in the homeowner’s name.

As a consequence, the homeowner is still responsible for upkeep of the property and for expenses like property taxes and homeowners association fees, even though the owner no longer lives at the property.

For communities, it can be a burden as towns are not paid taxes, associations do not receive maintenance fees and properties become run-down.

Local results mirrored those across the United States, RealtyTrac says, with 20,500 zombie foreclosures in the latest quarter, down 43 percent from a year ago and 27 percent from the second quarter.

The company said the results are not surprising given that the inventory of homes in the foreclosure process has dropped 36 percent over the last year.

Zombie foreclosures increased in only six states from the year before. Most notably, they were up 66 percent in Massachusetts and 29 percent in New Jersey. In North Carolina, year-over-year zombie foreclosures fell 35 percent, to 369 properties from 569.

States with the most zombie foreclosures were New Jersey, 3,997; Florida, 3,512; New York, 3,365; Illinois, 1,187; and Ohio, 1,028.

States with the largest drops in vacant homes in foreclosure were Vermont, down 100 percent; Montana, down 83 percent; West Virginia and New Hampshire, each down 75 percent; and Wisconsin and Georgia, each down 70 percent.

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