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Wichita Tops Abandoned Homes List

A recent report listed Wichita as having the highest percentage of abandoned homes in foreclosure among the nation’s largest metro areas. KMUWs Abigail Wilson has more…

Of the 301 properties in foreclosure in Wichita right now, nearly half stand vacant and abandoned.

A June report by real estate information company RealtyTrac says the properties, known as zombie foreclosures, are homes where the foreclosure process has been started, but never finished by the homeowner or the bank.

Daren Blomquist is the Vice President of RealtyTrac.

“So what you’re left with is a home that’s vacant, abandoned," Blomquist says. "The bank is not taking responsibility for it. The homeowner is not taking responsibility for it, and so that often ends up being the type of properties that are causing the most blight and the most problems in neighborhoods.”

And even though Wichita was found to have the highest number of these abandoned foreclosures, Blomquist says the city’s actual foreclosure rate is fairly low when compared to other cities.

“So its a high percentage, but it’s out of a relatively low number when we look at Wichita's foreclosure rate compared to other cities," he says. "Wichita’s foreclosure rate ranked 184 out of 212 cities nationwide, so its very low on the list in terms of foreclosure rate, but of the properties that are in foreclosure...the problem is many of them are abandoned.

Blomquist says the vacant properties are the byproduct of a lengthy foreclosure process known as judicial foreclosure. In Kansas, the process now takes up to 524 days.