Topeka A company says a report that Kansas has one of the highest rates of vacant foreclosures in the country reflects the small number of foreclosures in the state, not problems in the housing market.
RealtyTrac says Kansas has the third-highest rate of vacancies, with 31 percent of homes in the foreclosure process abandoned.
But RealtyTrac executive Daren Bloomquist says Kansas' rate is so high because it has a small number of foreclosures, so its percentage of vacancies will be higher than a state with many foreclosures.
The Topeka Capital-Journal reported 232 homes in Kansas were being foreclosed, with only about 72 homes statewide abandoned. In comparison, Florida has 35,913 abandoned homes but those account for only 22 percent of total foreclosures in that state.
"There's not a lot of vacant foreclosures in Kansas, it's just they make up a large percentage," Bloomquist said. "It's not as serious, even if the percentages are high, just because the numbers are so low."
According to the company's data, most vacant foreclosures were in metropolitan areas. Shawnee County, which is in northeastern Kansas, had the highest rate at 50 percent, with 24 vacant residences. Other counties that had high rates include Sedgwick County with 76 vacant homes; Johnson County with 72; and Wyandotte County with 37.
Bloomquist said a vacant foreclosed home can be a problem because it lowers the value of surrounding residences. Homeowners are less motivated to maintain the neighborhood and keep their homes if they get into financial trouble, he said.
"They tend to be one of those things that are almost contagious," Bloomquist said.