Special Report

Cities With the Most Abandoned Homes

10. Boise City-Nampa, Idaho
> Pct. foreclosures vacated: 31%
> Total vacated homes: 237 (41st lowest)
> Average home price: $114,028 (24th lowest)

Of the nearly 250,000 housing units in the Boise City region, 765 properties were in foreclosure as of the second quarter, not particularly high when compared to other large metro areas. However, more than 30% of the homes in foreclosure were vacant, among the highest owner vacancy rates nationwide. Despite owners abandoning their homes in the last few years, local real estate agents have recently reported a recovering housing market and rising home sales. In fact, unlike the majority of cities with the highest vacancy rates, home prices in the Boise area rose slightly over the 12 months through May. The average length of a foreclosure process in the state was a relatively low 471 days at the start of this year. However, it has risen considerably since 2007, when it was just around 100 days on average. Longer proceedings may be encouraging residents to give up on their homes.

9. Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, Fla.
> Pct. foreclosures vacated: 32%
> Total vacated homes: 2,041 (8th highest)
> Average home price: $108,561 (19th lowest)

More than 2,000 homes in foreclosure in Palm Bay were vacant as of the second quarter of this year, more than the vast majority of other large metro areas. The area’s foreclosure rate has been particularly high in recent years. Close to one out of every 100 area homes was in foreclosure in each of the last five quarters. At the beginning of this year, one in every 112 homes was in foreclosure, more than every large metro area except for Miami-Fort Lauderdale. The long foreclosure process of 935 days on average in Florida — among the longest in the nation — has likely contributed to the area’s high vacancy rate. Florida’s lengthy process is likely the result of the court proceedings involved in each foreclosure. Vacancy rates tend to be higher in states with judicial foreclosure systems, which tend to lengthen the process.

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8. Las Vegas-Paradise, Nev.
> Pct. foreclosures vacated: 32%
> Total vacated homes: 1,670 (13th highest)
> Average home price: $156,992 (35th highest)

Nevada was hit particularly hard during the housing crisis, and posted nation-leading foreclosure and unemployment rates in recent years. In particular, the Las Vegas area’s unemployment rate of nearly 8% in May was more than in all but a handful of metro areas. And one in every 200 area homes was in foreclosure at the beginning of this year, also among the highest rates in the country. According to Blomquist, homeowners also tend to abandon their homes when alternatives and legal proceedings are unclear. This is certainly the case in Nevada, where property laws have undergone changes in recent years. Nearly one in four foreclosed homes in the Las Vegas metro area failed to sell at auction in January and was subsequently repossessed by the bank for resale, more than in all but three other metro areas. This may also suggest weak demand for distressed homes in the area.