Special Report

Cities With the Most Abandoned Homes

7. Syracuse, N.Y.
> Pct. foreclosures vacated: 33%
> Total vacated homes: 94 (21st lowest)
> Average home price: $84,243 (8th lowest)

The Syracuse housing market is in exceptionally good shape. Of the nearly 290,000 housing units in the area, just 288 properties were in foreclosure as of the second quarter. This was nearly the lowest rate nationwide, as just one in every 1,766 homes was in foreclosure as of the beginning of this year. Among homes in foreclosure, however, about one third were vacant, a considerable increase from a year ago. Syracuse residents are likely subject to lengthy foreclosure proceedings due in part to New York’s judicial process. A foreclosure in the state took an average of around 1,000 days start-to-finish in the last few years, nearly the highest foreclosure process time in the country and likely a major driver behind the high vacancy rate.

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6. Worcester, Mass.
> Pct. foreclosures vacated: 33%
> Total vacated homes: 394 (45th highest)
> Average home price: N/A

Compared to other large metro areas with high volumes of abandoned homes, residents in Worcester are relatively wealthy. A typical household earned $62,505 in 2012, versus a national median household income of $51,371. Despite these high incomes, central Massachusetts’ housing market has had a patchy recovery from the recession. A typical home sold at the beginning of this year for considerably less than it did a year ago. Persistently falling home prices likely encourage homeowners to abandon their homes. Also potentially indicating weaker demand large number of foreclosed properties failed to sell at auction. As a result, nearly one in 10 foreclosure sales were of lender-owned sale, among the higher rates compared with other large metro areas.

5. St. Louis, Mo.-Ill.
> Pct. foreclosures vacated: 34%
> Total vacated homes: 847 (27th highest)
> Average home price: $96,083 (14th lowest)

The number of vacant homes in the St. Louis area dropped by nearly 50% between the second quarters of 2013 and this year. Despite this, still more than a third of the area’s 2,500 properties in foreclosure were vacant as of the second quarter. Residents of the St. Louis area are subject to either Missouri’s non-judicial foreclosure process or Illinois’ judicial one. The average lengths of proceedings in both states, however, are exceptionally high and have been on the rise in the last year. A complete foreclosure process took roughly one year on average in Missouri and more than 800 days in Illinois, both among the longer proceedings compared to other large metro areas. Long foreclosure procedures in both states likely contributed to the area’s 34% vacancy rate.