ATTOM Data Solutions’ Q3 2019 Vacant Property and Zombie Foreclosure Report found that only 1.6% of all single-family homes and condominiums, or 1,530,563 units, were vacant in Q3 2019. Additionally, this report found that only 304,000 homes were in the process of foreclosure, or -2.2% less than the same time in 2016.

Vacancy rates were hit hard in formerly industrial cities where job loss and investment opportunities have diminished. Those vacant properties translate into decreased tax revenue, greater maintenance costs, increased safety/crime issues and blight which, of course, lower the value of proximate properties.

But, improvement is happening. In just one year, Detroit, for example, has -27% fewer vacant properties than it had just last year.

Take a look at comparisons of vacant properties and vacancy rates for both residential and investment (invt) properties in Q3 2019:

 

Vacant               Vacancy    Vacant      InvtProp

Metro                 Properties         Rate          Investment Props   Vacancy Rate

Flint                   9,688                 6.4%         8,463        23.4%

Montg AL           4,077                 3.9%          3,092        10.2%

Youngstown       7,232                 3.7%          4,629        10.2%

Mobile AL          5,521                 3.7%           4,645        8.5%

Myrtle Beach    7,750                  3.5%           7,200        6.3%

Beaumont        4,285                  3.4%           3,261        8.5%

Dayton            8,879                  3.2%           6,271        9.2%

Detroit            47,172                 3.2%           34,330      10.2%

Peoria IL         4,108                   3.1%           2,852        10.2%

Jackson MS     5,583                   3.0%           4,123        7.9%

ATTOM’s chief product officer, Todd Teta, said, “The change (in vacant properties) on a nationwide level is largely driven by the fact that the market has stabilized, there’s a little bit more equity and…there are more buyers for homes.”

 

In terms of zombie vacancies due to foreclosures, foreclosure activity decreased -19% in July 2019, the 13th consecutive m/m decline despite foreclosure starts being up +6% from June 2019. Still, foreclosure activity in July was down -14% compared with one year ago.

 

Additionally, foreclosure filings in July 2019 were down -19% compared with June 2019 and were down -21% compared with July 2018.

 

Compare just a few cities hit hard by zombie vacancies due to foreclosure in Q3 2013 and Q3 2019:

 

Metro                          Q3 2013                              Q3 2019

South Bend IN             19.8%                                  4.5%

Durham-Chapel Hill      15.1%                                  1.4%

Knoxville TN                13.5%                                  1.5%

Roanoke VA                 13.5%                                  0.8%

Pensacola FL                12.3%                                  3.3%

Buffalo NY                   12.2%                                  6.3%

Memphis TN                11.6%                                  1.3%