Banks leave many foreclosed homes vacant

As a result of the growing number of consumers facing credit card debt, unemployment and other economic problems, neighborhoods across the country have been seeing an increase in vacant homes.

While some consumers assume lenders are trying to sell the properties on the housing market, these houses may be stuck in a legal limbo, as many banks and financial institutions delay finalizing foreclosures.

When a loan becomes seriously delinquent, company services conduct an analysis of whether or not a foreclosure should be completed. In many of these cases, businesses are choosing to simply walk away from the homes because the houses may cost more to maintain than they could garner on the open market, according to a recent report from The Woodstock Institute.

Many times, this happens after the property is already vacant, a process which has been compounded by a legal loophole that does not mandate these companies from finalizing a foreclosure, the report says. As a result, these vacant homes are one of the main reasons housing prices are expected to continue to fall in 2011.

This means that many consumers could end up seeing a far smaller return on their investments in their homes.