Zombie foreclosure rates soar in Maryland and Virginia

Zombie Foreclosures, or those connected to abandoned properties, are on the rise. Homeowners struggling to make mortgage payments and considering abandoning their property have other options

The term Zombie Foreclosure is one that sounds like a catch phrase used in a hit television show or popular horror movie. Unfortunately, the term is reality for many residents of Maryland and Virginia. This term refers to properties that are abandoned, often in connection with homeowners unable to make unmanageable mortgage payments.

More on Zombie Foreclosure data

A recent article in the Washington Business Journal touched on the issue, noting Virginia and Maryland both have high rates of Zombie Foreclosures. The support for these findings comes from a report by RealtyTrac, a top housing data provider. The report, Q1 2015 Zombie Foreclosure Report, reviews housing data from January through March of 2015. Based on this review, the company found that 142,462 homes in the foreclosure process throughout the country were abandoned by homeowners before the bank repossessed the property. This translates to 25 percent of all foreclosures classified as Zombie Foreclosures.

Maryland topped the list of states with high numbers of Zombie Foreclosures with a reported 3,363 homes. Baltimore also received honors within the report, with a spot in the top ten metro areas with these foreclosures with 1,722. Virginia was included as well for almost doubling its Zombie Foreclosure rate during the last year.

Although the overall average of foreclosures is down by 6 percent, the percentage of these foreclosures that are connected to an abandoned property rose by 4 percent. This may be due to homeowner frustration when attempting to navigate a lengthy and confusing foreclosure process.

Impact of the report

Homeowners that are struggling to make mortgage payments can learn two things from this report:

  • You are not alone. Based on the data from first quarter review of 2015, over 100,000 homeowners throughout the country felt the need to abandon their homes. If you are struggling to make your mortgage payments, you are not alone.
  • There are options . Homeowners have options. The first step may involve reaching out to the lender to see if forbearance, modification or refinancing options are available. In some situations, bankruptcy may offer the best solution.

Those that are considering bankruptcy should note that the bankruptcy code offers options to homeowners facing foreclosure. Some, like Chapter 13, are more likely to allow the petitioner seeking relief to keep his or her property. It is wise for homeowners considering bankruptcy to reach out to an experienced foreclosure attorney. This legal professional will review your situation and discuss various options that can help better ensure a more favorable outcome.

Keywords: bankruptcy