This week real estate data powerhouse RealtyTrac released their 2016 2nd quarter U.S. Residential Property Vacancy and Zombie Foreclosure Report that shows nearly 1.4 million residential properties (1 to 4 units) representing 1.6% of all residential properties were vacant as of May 2016, up 2.7% from the previous quarter when 1,361,628 U.S. residential properties were vacant.  The report also shows that 19,187 U.S. residential properties actively in the foreclosure process were vacant (zombie foreclosures), representing 4.7% of all residential properties in foreclosure — down 3.1 percent from the previous quarter and down 30.1%  from a year ago.

States with the most vacant “zombie” foreclosures were New Jersey (4,003), New York (3,352), Florida (2,467), Illinois (1,074), and Ohio (1,064).

“Lenders have been taking advantage of the strong seller’s market to dispose of lingering foreclosure inventory over the past year, evidenced by 12 consecutive months of increasing bank repossessions ending in February and now evidenced by these numbers showing a sharp drop in vacant zombie foreclosures compared to a year ago….As these zombie foreclosures hit the market for sale they are providing a modicum of relief for the pressure cooker of escalating prices and deteriorating affordability that have defined the U.S. housing market in recent years,” said Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at RealtyTrac.