Zombie foreclosures now account for just over one percent of the 1.5 million vacant homes in the United States, according to RealtyTrac.
States with the most vacant "zombie" foreclosures were New Jersey (3,997), Florida (3,512), New York (3,365), Illinois (1,187) and Ohio (1,028), and some markets, such as Boston, St. Louis and Philadelphia, have seen an increase in their zombie population.
That increase is likely due to an increase in default notices in states with a very slow foreclosure process that can drag on for years; with backlogs so big for so long, banks waited to file.
Now, as those backlogs ease, the banks are filing, but the new default notices are on homes that have been delinquent possibly for years, so they are more likely to be vacant when they finally get to foreclosure.
"The overall inventory of homes in the foreclosure process has dropped 36 percent over the past year so it's not too surprising to see a similarly dramatic drop in vacant zombie foreclosures," said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac.
"What is surprising is there are so many vacant homes where the homeowners do not appear to be in financial distress."