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Report: DC Has Highest Level of Zombie Foreclosures in the Country

by Nena Perry-Brown

Today, ATTOM Data Solutions released a report which provides some context to the foreclosure market with a focus on "zombie properties", which are properties that are vacant as they go through the foreclosure process. In many instances, zombie properties have been vacated prematurely, prolonging vacancy and subsequent deterioration of the housing unit, and eventually depressing housing values nearby.

While DC proper has far fewer zombie properties (22) than other counties, 12.5 percent of the 176 properties being foreclosed on in the city are zombies — the highest share observed nationwide. For some context, in the DC area, 2.2 percent of the 3,245 properties being foreclosed on are zombie properties. 

Vacant foreclosure and investment properties by jurisdiction. Click to enlarge.

Although DC has a small number of zombie properties overall, the low number of properties in foreclosure amplifies the presence of vacant properties in foreclosure. Four DC zip codes have higher shares of zombie properties than the citywide share: 22 percent in the 20019 zip code (Deanwood, Lincoln Heights, Benning Ridge), 16.7 percent each in the 20020 (Anacostia, Hillcrest, Penn Branch) and 20032 (Congress Heights, Bellevue, Washington Highlands) zip codes, and 16 percent in the 20018 zip code (Brentwood, Fort Lincoln, Woodridge).

Vacant foreclosure and investment properties in DC, by zip code. Click to enlarge.

Zip code data reveals how important locality is to foreclosure, vacancy and zombie rates, as some zip codes in the close-in suburbs (by city, not mileage) have higher shares of zombie properties than seen in DC. One-third of the (admittedly few) properties being foreclosed on in the 20912 (Takoma Park) zip code are zombies, as are 20 percent of the properties in the 20905 (Silver Spring) zip code and 14.3 percent of the properties in the 20852 (Rockville).

All of the data used is county tax assessor data from the third quarter of 2019.

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/per-report-dc-has-highest-level-of-zombie-foreclosures-nationwide/15761

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