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Fear not: ‘Zombie’ foreclosure numbers drop in metro Phoenix

PHOENIX — There are fewer zombies in the Valley these days but we’re not talking about the kind you see in horror movies.

Zombie foreclosures are properties that have started the foreclosure process but have never been foreclosed, and the owner has already left the property.

“(The Valley) has a pretty big number — 1,068 — but among all metro areas nationwide with a population of 200,000 or more, that’s No. 25 on the list,” said Daren Blomquist, a vice president with Realty Trac, a real estate information company.

But Greater Phoenix has half as many homes in limbo as this time last year, and about 25 percent fewer than in the first quarter of 2014. Blomquist said that’s a sign the housing market is improving.

“The fact that that number is coming down is a positive sign that the market is clearing the inventory of the often called, ‘shadow inventory’ of foreclosures,” he said.

The news isn’t all good, though. Blomquist said Valley cities are still missing out on property tax revenue because the average tax on a property is about $2,200 annually.