No zombie problem in the Tri-Cities; most local counties have higher vacant property share than national Q3 norm


The Tri-Cities housing market has all but eliminated its zombie problem.

ZombieHousing market zombies are not the “Walking Dead” type, but properties where the homeowner has walked away but banks haven’t completed the foreclosure process. In some cases the owners who walked don’t realize they still own the property.

Zombies are bad news in the housing market because once a property is abandoned it can quickly fall into disrepair, become a target for vandals and bring down the value of other homes in the neighborhood.

RealtyTrac’s Q3 Zombie Foreclosure & Vacant Property Report shows only four local zombie properties. This time last year there were seven.  Two of this year’s zombies are located in Greene County. Johnson and Washington County TN had one each.

The vacant property report shows a higher share of local vacant properties than the national norm and a lower share of bank owned vacant properties. In the other categories local county markets came in under the national share.

Here’s how local counties stack up against the national shares in the vacant property report.

Nationwide 1.8% of all residential properties are vacant. Only two Tri-Cities county fell below the national norm.  Here’s how that compares on the local level with the share listed first then the number of properties:

Carter Co. – 2.3% – 305.

Greene Co. – 3.6% – 1,185.

Hawkins Co.  – 3% – 525.

Johnson Co. – 3.5% – 199.

Sullivan Co. – 1.9% – 1,028.

Unicoi – 2.8% – 827.

Washington Co. TN – 1.6% – 827.

Bristol, TN – 4.3% – 286.

Washington Co. VA – 0.6% – 127.

Nationwide 36.5% of the vacant properties had open loans. The local rundown by share and number of properties was:

Carter Co. – 29.5% – 90.

Greene Co. – 26.2% – 311.

Hawkins Co. – 29% – 152.

Johnson Co. – 23.1% – 46.

Sullivan Co. – 19.5% – 200.

Unicoi Co. – 22.4% – 282.

Bristol VA – 13.6% – 39.

Washington Co. VA – 14.2% – 18

Nationwide 6% of vacant properties with a mortgage were underwater. Here’s what that looked like in the Tri-Cities:

Carter Co. – 2.6% – 8.

Greene Co. – 3.5% – 41.

Hawkins Co. – 2.3% – 12.

Johnson – 3.5% – 7.

Sullivan – 1.6% – 16.

Unicoi – 3% – 8.

Washington Co. TN – 5.1% – 42.

Bristol TN – 3.9% – 5.

Nationwide the share of vacant properties that are banked owned was 1.8%. This is the only category of the report where the Tri-Cities ranked lower than the national share:

Carter Co. 1.3% – 4.

Greene Co. 1.1% – 13.

Hawkins Co. – 0.8% – 4.

Johnson Co. 0%

Sullivan Co. – 0.5% – 5.

Unicoi – 0.7% – 2.

Washington Co. TN – 1% – 8.

Bristol TN – 0%

Washington Co. VA – 0%.

For this report RealtyTrac matched its public property record database of nearly 85 million single family homes, condos, duplexes, triplexes and quadraplexes against monthly updated address-level data from U.S. Postal Service flagging properties as vacant if no one is picking up the mail at the property (vacancy does not include homeowners who are forwarding mail to a different mailing address). The breakdown of properties in the foreclosure process and bank owned are based on public record foreclosure documents collected by RealtyTrac, and the breakdown by equity (seriously underwater) is based on public record mortgage data collected by RealtyTrac along with estimated market values updated monthly for all properties in the RealtyTrac database.

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