Housing market in Topeka sees fewer 'vampires' [Topeka Capital Journal (KS)]
(Topeka Capital Journal (KS) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Topeka homes are safer from "vampires" than those in many other cities, according to a report released Wednesday from real estate information firm RealtyTrac.
Vampires are homes that a bank has reclaimed through foreclosure, but where the owners who lost it still live. Homes abandoned by their owners during the foreclosure process had been called "zombies" by some media outlets, so the name "vampire" was chosen to highlight a related problem that could "suck the life" out of markets, according to RealtyTrac.
While they won't bite you in the dark, they could weaken the housing recovery in some areas because banks will eventually have to put them on the market, increasing the housing supply and pushing down prices, said Daren Blomquist, spokesman for RealtyTrac.
RealtyTrac compiled the data by comparing its list of foreclosed properties with data from the U.S. Postal Service on what homes were vacant. When the procedure works normally, a home that was taken back by a bank will be empty, and one that is at an earlier point in the foreclosure process will be occupied.
Topeka had about 429 homes that were owned by banks as a result of foreclosure in September, according to the RealtyTrac data. The previous owners still are living in 37 percent of them. Though that may sound high, it falls well below the nationwide average of 47 percent, Blomquist said.
"Probably in Topeka you saw less of this boom and bust," he said.
The list included 152 large real estate markets. Fort Wayne, Ind., had the lowest rate of homeowners overstaying their time, with 21 percent remaining in a foreclosed home, and was followed closely by Wichita, with 24 percent. The area surrounding York and Hanover, Pa., had the highest rate, with 79 percent of foreclosed homeowners staying on.
Though homeowners typically get 90 days to vacate a property they lost to foreclosure, many of those still living in their houses have been doing so much longer, Blomquist said. In most cases, simple inertia has helped them to stay, he said.
"They're doing nothing to stay in the house, waiting for the banks to evict them," he said.
Across Kansas, 7,885 homes were owned by banks in September, and the former owner had stayed on in 34 percent of them, which put Kansas in a tie with South Dakota for the lowest rate. Virginia had the highest rate, with 72 percent of those who had lost their homes staying in them.
There aren't enough vampire homes nationwide to cause a real estate crisis, Blomquist said, though some local markets could see prices pushed down temporarily. Topeka likely won't face problems with that, he said.
"It's not going to derail the housing market," he said.
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