1. Business

Tampa Bay 'zombie' home problem easing

Published Jun. 11, 2015

Times Staff Writer

Tampa Bay's zombie apocalypse isn't quite as scary as it once was.

In the second quarter of 2015, the number of vacant foreclosed homes – known as zombies – has dropped by 21 percent from the first quarter and 36 percent from the same period last year, RealtyTrac said Thursday.

However, the bay area still has 6,206 zombies, amounting to 33 percent of all homes in some stage of foreclosure. Only St. Louis, with 36 percent, was higher among the 20 major metro areas monitored by RealtyTrac.

Nationwide, zombie foreclosures dropped 10 percent from a year ago although one in every 1,040 total housing units is a zombie, RealtyTrac says. It estimates the average value of a zombie to be 22 percent less than that of an owner-occupied foreclosure.

That indicates "it is in a foreclosing bank's best interest to have a home occupied during the foreclosure process and also demonstrates how these zombies are contributing to blight in neighborhoods across the country,'' said Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac.