From the Star Ledger:
One of every two New Jersey homes that has gone through foreclosure and is now owned by a bank still has its previous owners living there.
At least one real estate tracking firm finds it a little scary, calling them “vampire” homes.
RealtyTrac reported nearly 4,300 homes in New Jersey are now owned by a bank, and half of them are occupied by the former owner. Nationwide, 47 percent of foreclosed homes still have homeowners inside.
Cape May and Hudson counties have the most “vampires” living there, at 82 percent and 79 percent respectively, according to RealtyTrac. By comparison, Camden (69 percent), Gloucester (64 percent) and Somerset (62 percent) counties have the highest percentage of foreclosed homes that have been vacated.
The real estate tracking company also looked at “zombie foreclosures,” in which the home is in pre-foreclosure status but the owners have already moved out.
The “zombie” survey found nearly 42,000 homes in New Jersey are in the foreclosure pipeline, and nearly 14,000, or 17 percent, have no one living there. The national average is 20 percent.
Under New Jersey law, a former owner can stay in the property for up to 45 days after foreclosure. More often, however, many opt to stay until the house is sold. But with a shrinking inventory of homes for sale and an uptick in asking prices, banks are becoming more eager to move the properties off their books.
“It’s likely the banks are going to want to sell them sooner rather than later now that home prices are rising,” RealtyTrac said.