5. Wichita, Kan.
> Pct. foreclosures vacated: 30.4%
> Total vacated homes: 90
> Median home price: $140,000 (43rd lowest)
Wichita stands out among the metro areas on this list. Based of the most recently available data, 30.4% of foreclosed homes in Wichita were abandoned. According to RealtyTrac’s Blomquist, Wichita is an outlier. Home prices in the area did not decline considerably during the recession, falling just 0.4% in the five years ending with the fourth quarter of 2012. The area also had less than 300 total homes in foreclosure at last count, fewer than all but five of the nation’s largest metro areas.
4. Birmingham-Hoover, Ala.
> Pct. foreclosures vacated: 30.6%
> Total vacated homes: 375
> Median home price: $155,000 (44th highest)
The Birmingham area was not hit as hard during much of the recession as the rest of the United States. Home prices fell by just 8.8% between late 2007 and late 2012, well below the 20.8% decline nationwide in that time. In the more recent years, Birmingham’s housing market reversed its trend. Between late 2009 and late 2012, the area’s home prices dropped 5.5%, while nationwide home prices fell by just 0.6%. Many homeowners likely made the choice to vacate quickly once the foreclosure process had begun. During the first quarter of 2013, it took just 186 days, on average, to foreclose a home in Alabama, less than the average time required in all but four other states.
3. St. Louis, Mo.-Ill.
> Pct. foreclosures vacated: 31.0%
> Total vacated homes: 1,581
> Median home price: $135,000 (38th lowest)
As of the most recent count, the St. Louis metro area had more than 5,000 homes in foreclosure, with more than 1,500 of these sitting vacant. During the recession, home prices in St. Louis did not slide as much as they did in many other areas where foreclosures and vacated properties are abundant. Home prices declined by 11.4%, versus 20.8% nationwide, between the fourth quarter of 2007 and the end of last year. Still, home prices in St. Louis did not have as far to decline compared to other large cities. According to RealtyTrac, the median home price in the area was just $135,000 in April.
2. Jacksonville, Fla.
> Pct. foreclosures vacated: 31.3%
> Total vacated homes: 5,475
> Median home price: $142,099 (46th lowest)
Jacksonville area home prices dropped by 32.4% between the fourth quarters of 2007 and 2012, one of the larger drops in the nation during that time. But even as home prices began to rise in 2012, many residents still found themselves unable to afford or sell their homes. While the number of foreclosure filings in the majority of large metro areas fell from the year before during the first quarter of 2013, in Jacksonville it jumped 17.3%. According to the most recently available data, there were nearly 17,500 homes in foreclosure in the area, of which nearly 5,500 were empty. Possibly contributing to the rising number of vacant homes is that the average foreclosure takes nearly 900 days in Florida, giving residents ample time to leave their homes.
1. Indianapolis-Carmel, Ind.
> Pct. foreclosures vacated: 31.8%
> Total vacated homes: 2,488
> Median home price: $150,000 (48th highest)
Nearly one-third of foreclosed properties in the Indianapolis metro area were vacant. Among the likely contributors to this is that in the first quarter of 2013, it took 607 days, on average, to foreclose a property in Indiana. There are more than 7,800 homes in foreclosure in Indianapolis, with nearly 2,500 of them vacant. Foreclosure filings in the first quarter of 2013 were down by nearly 25% from the year before, although there were still 3,858 foreclosure filings in the quarter.