Florida once again leads the nation in "zombie foreclosures," abandoned homes sitting for months as their foreclosures slog through court, new data from research firm RealtyTrac show.
The Sunshine State accounts for 49,000 zombie homes, more than a third of the nation's total, according to data from the second quarter of this year. Homes here are left vacant for an average of 411 days before the foreclosure runs its course.
Tampa Bay was called America's fourth most zombified metro area, with 9,643 vacated homes. Lenders Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Chase accounted for the most zombie homes.
The nation's undead army of homes has dropped 16 percent since this time last year, as judges have gradually resolved foreclosures and home values have improved. But thick backlogs of distressed cases, due to delaying lenders and homeowners and overwhelmed courts, have led many homes to molder in place.
As of April 1, Florida courts still had 218,000 pending foreclosures, state court data show. Statewide judges are on average clearing about 20,000 cases a month.