Tri-Cities has big Q3 increase in zombie forclosures


Halloween is an oddly appropriate time for a dramatic increase in zombie foreclosures here in the Tri-Cities, but that’s what the numbers show.

According to RealtyTrac’s Q3 Zombie Foreclosure Report, 117,298 homes actively in the foreclosure process had been vacated by the homeowners prior to a completed foreclosure. That’s 18% of all active foreclosures, down from 23% during Q3 last year. These vacant properties will likely end up as short sales, foreclosure auction sales or bank-owned sales in the future.

Here in the Tri-Cities 31 of the 41  properties in the foreclosure process during the quarter are listed as owner vacated – or zombies.  During Q3 last year there were seven Tri-Cities zombies.

Here’s how the local situation looks, according to RealtyTrac. The total number of properties in foreclosure during Q3 is listed first followed by the number of zombie foreclosures. The number of owner vacated foreclosures in Q3 2013 is the last number.

Carter Co. – 15 – 2 – 0

Greene Co. – 23 -2 – 3.

Hawkins Co. – 14 – 5 – 1

Johnson Co. – 4 – 0 – 0

Sullivan – 32 – 7 – 2

Unicoi – 9 – 2 – 0

Washington – 41 – 13 – 1

“The most effective preventative vaccine for the blight caused by vacant, abandoned foreclosures has proven to be a short and efficient foreclosure process,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. “Absent that, the best antidote for a zombie foreclosure infestation is a pro-active land bank program designed to aggressively take possession of vacant foreclosures and rehab or demolish them.

“Meanwhile, markets with lengthy and lengthening foreclosure timelines have unintentionally created a zombie foreclosure breeding ground,” Blomquist added. “As we see a backlog of delayed distress finally hit the foreclosure pipeline in some of those markets, the problem is coming more to light.”

According to the report Tennessee saw an increase of  145% in zombie foreclosures in Q3 when compared to Q3 last year.

RealtyTrac gathers data for vacant foreclosures by matching foreclosures in the RealtyTrac database with data collected from the United States Postal Service for addresses that the agency has deemed vacant or where the owner has requested a change of address.


Mortgage rates are headed to 5 percent. But don’t blame the Fed.

The Mortgage Bankers Association expects the average rate on a 30-year, fixed rate mortgage to rise slowly to 5.1 percent by the end of 2015 — a full percentage point higher than where it was last week — as the U.S. economy grows and the job market improves. (Generally, strong economic performance pushes mortgage rates up.) If not for the economic and political turmoil that’s erupted in other parts of the world, the forecasts for mortgage rates would probably be even higher.

Most Kingsport family income ranges hold up against recession


Family incomes in Kingsport have increased since the recession, but buying power has declined for those earning the median  and per capita incomes when adjusted for inflation.

A comparison of the recently released 2013 Census data with a 2008 pre-recession benchmark shows the median family income’s buying power was down 0.8% ($411 a year) when adjusted using the Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation calculator.

The average family income was up $960 a year when adjusted for inflation, and the per capita was down 3.9% (782).

Here’s how the three benchmark incomes looked in the comparison before the inflation adjustment:

      Median family income (dollars) $53,771 $50,076 7.4%
      Mean family income (dollars) $74,191 $67,681 9.6%
      Per capita income (dollars) $25,924 $24,683 5.0%

The income ranges used by Census to track family incomes showed gains in all but two categories:

      Less than $10,000 35.0%
      $10,000 to $14,999 -14.2%
      $15,000 to $24,999 4.9%
      $25,000 to $34,999 -11.6%
      $35,000 to $49,999 0.2%
      $50,000 to $74,999 5.8%
      $75,000 to $99,999 36.2%
      $100,000 to $149,999 19.7%
      $150,000 to $199,999 72.4%
      $200,000 or more 26.3%

This biggest gains compared to 2012-2008 came in the two upper income  categories.

Comparison was made using the American Community Survey 2013 3-year survey with the 3-year study from 2008.

Johnson City family incomes up since recession


Family income in Johnson City showed gains when the newly released 2013 Census data is compared to a 2008 pre-recession benchmark. The annual average family income is the highest in the Tri-Cities, but this year’s private sector wage performance isn’t keeping pace.

Here’s the core data for the comparison:

Median family income $54,663 $53,474 2.2%
Mean family income $81,959 $74,739 9.7%
Per capita income $27,006 $24,624 9.7%

When adjusted for inflation – using 2008 as the baseline – the annual buying power is above the inflation curve for 2013.  The picture isn’t as positive for 2014. So far this year the average private sector wages have been stagnant. According to the BLS inflation calculator the average Johnson City 2008 family income of $74,739 would have to increase to $82,629 in 2014 to have the same buying power.

Here’s what a 2008-2013 comparison of the changes in the 10 income ranges Census uses to track family income looks like:

FAMILY INCOME 2013-2008 ch.
      Less than $10,000 26.4%
      $10,000 to $14,999 56.8%
      $15,000 to $24,999 -5.0%
      $25,000 to $34,999 -10.3%
      $35,000 to $49,999 23.5%
      $50,000 to $74,999 14.7%
      $75,000 to $99,999 -0.8%
      $100,000 to $149,999 75.8%
      $150,000 to $199,999 4.3%
      $200,000 or more 3.9%

Comparison was made using the American Community Survey 2013 3-year survey with the 3-year study from 2008.

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