BRADENTON – The sunshine state has more vacant homes in foreclosure than any other state in the nation – and no one else is even close. With more than 55,000 homes in foreclosure sitting vacant, Florida has more than the next five states combined, according to a report released last week by industry data-tracking company RealtyTrac.
According to the report, Florida holds a full third of all vacant foreclosed homes in the country. On the list, Florida is followed by Illinois, California, Ohio, New York and New Jersey.
While home sales and average prices have seen modest gains, much of the "good news" includes sales by hedge funds and other investment groups that have been buying and selling homes in the state, with some properties changing hands several times, without an owner or renter taking occupancy.
The vacant foreclosed homes are seen as a gauge on the overall health of the state's real estate market, as high numbers of vacant foreclosures tend to have a negative effect on regular, owner occupied homes in terms of property values and ability to sell.
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