|Published:||Oct 28, 2013 9:01 PM EDT|
|Updated:||Oct 28, 2013 9:01 PM EDT|
NAPLES, Fla. - Experts say vacant, unforeclosed homes are eating away at local property values and stopping the potential growth southwest Florida has seen in its real estate market.
They're known as so-called "zombie" homes - unattended homes that turn a community into a twilight zone.
Zombie homes are unwanted by both the home owners and banks, who already have too many foreclosures on their books and choose to ignore the property.
Experts say the state takes 900 days to clear a foreclosure in Florida - and believe banks turn an eye due to the cost of maintaining the home versus what they'd make in a sale.
According to a study by RealtyTrac, about 62 percent of bank-owned homes in Collier County and 54 percent in Lee County fall into the zombie category, compared with 47 percent nationwide.
Of the 152,033 zombie homes nationwide, more than a third, or 54,410, are in Florida.
Both nationwide and statewide, about 1 in 5 homes moving through the foreclosure pipeline are zombies.
Real estate agents say while the local market is improving and seeing growth, these 'zombie' homes have capped the potential of forward movement.
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