Zombie Foreclosures & Boomerang Buyers: Latest Real Estate Trends?

by Natalie Terchek

Does new foreclosure slang fit in with the latest real estate trends?


We’ve heard of “short sales,” “shadow sales” and “cure rate.” Now, two other phrases have been used to describe some of today’s real estate trends: “zombie foreclosures” and “boomerang buyers.”

According to Bankforeclosuresales.com, a zombie foreclosure is “a property that the homeowner has abandoned and assumed the home as become the property of the lender. Essentially what happens is the homeowner leaves the property after receiving a notice of sale from the lender, and then the home is left empty until the bank acquires the property. This acquisition can take longer than desired and during the period in which the home is not yet owned by the bank, technically the homeowner is still responsible for the property.”

Sometimes, the homeowner is unaware that the property was never foreclosed on, and therefore believed it was the property of the bank. It often takes years for them to be notified that they are still legally responsible for the property, and therefore responsible for paying the taxes, mortgages, and penalties for the property.

“Boomerang buyer” is a term coined by the Wall Street Journal, used to describe an individual who lost their home to foreclosure after the housing crash six years ago, but are now back in the housing market. The Federal Housing Administration says it takes approximately three years for buyers to wait before becoming eligible for a mortgage again, and these buyers are ending their waiting period now. Hundreds of thousands of buyers are in this category.

Do these real estate trends fit in with our foreclosure market?

It’s funny how these foreclosure trends are gaining popularity when Illinois’s foreclosure market is getting healthier. In a recent Chicago Agent article, it was reported that that foreclosure activity declined 17 percent for the state of Illinois. Needless to say that the two real estate trends mentioned above are not as prevalent in the Chicagoland area. This is not the case everywhere, but their foreclosure market has seen big progress.

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