Grab your stuff and go: ‘Zombie’ homes abound in Nevada


An auction sign for a foreclosed home in Las Vegas bends in the wind, Nov. 17, 2010.

Nevadans who expect to lose their homes to foreclosure move out far more frequently than struggling borrowers in other states, according to a new report.

Nevada has a “zombie foreclosure” rate of 50 percent, meaning half of all homes in the foreclosure process that aren't yet bank-owned are empty, according to RealtyTrac, an Irvine, Calif., research firm.

Only five other states — Kentucky, Indiana, Maine, Oregon and Washington — have zombie foreclosure rates of at least 50 percent. The national rate is 35 percent.

RealtyTrac said this was the first report of its kind, so no comparison data exist for previous time periods.

One possible reason for the vacancies is that homeowners who expect their property to be foreclosed on may not realize they still own the home, RealtyTrac said.

Nevada’s regular foreclosure rate is one of the worst in the country. In February, one in every 320 housing units statewide carried a foreclosure-related filing. That was down 14 percent from a year earlier but still more than double the national average.

Still, buying a distressed house in Nevada is no bargain.

The average sales price of a home in some stage of foreclosure was $126,521 in 2012, almost 6 percent higher than in 2011, according to RealtyTrac.

Nevada’s average foreclosure discount — the price break compared with nondistressed homes — was 19 percent last year, well below the national average of 31 percent.

Las Vegas Valley home buyers and brokers say there is fierce competition for all homes, distressed or otherwise. That’s because of limited inventory and the strong appetite of cash investors, who buy cheap homes in bulk to use as rentals.

Tags: News, Business