Zombie foreclosures off 46 percent in Florida

The number of houses sitting empty because their owners abandoned them during a foreclosure proceeding — so-called “zombie” foreclosures — fell 46 percent in South Florida over the last year.

Zombie foreclosures tend to lower property values because no one is taking care of the home. The housing crisis overloaded the judicial system in Florida during the recession, leading to foreclosure cases that dragged on so long that some homeowners simply moved out.

In the second quarter of 2015, there were more than 7,000 zombie foreclosures in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties — about 18 percent of all foreclosure proceedings in South Florida — according to a report released Thursday by RealtyTrac. That’s down from nearly 15,300 in the same quarter of last year.

New Jersey, Florida, New York, Nevada and Indiana have the highest statewide rates of zombie foreclosures, RealtyTrac found.