The housing market for Halloween

Maybe it’s a little tasteless, maybe a little grim, but then it is Halloween week and you do live in the city that gave America the Walking Dead. So you have – for this moment, anyhow – the right to ask: How many homes are owned by ghosts?

Funny you should ask.

Turns out that there is data on this question, courtesy of RealtyTrac, the California-based real estate research firm: More than 22,000 single-family homes are vacant and have a legal homeowner who is now deceased.

That is, says RealtyTrac, one “haunted house” for every 5,973 housing units in the country.

America’s highest concentration of these “haunted houses” is in Alabama’s Mobile County, ZIP code 36610. There is one of these “haunted houses” for every 89 homes – a total of 69 for the area.

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The second highest concentration is in Mahoning County of Ohio: one in every 102 homes.

In Georgia, the highest-concentration is in Augusta, ZIP code 30901, where there is a ghost-owned home for every 286 in Richmond Count, says RealtyTrac. Second highest is Muscogoe (ZIP 31906) with one for every 301 homes.

In metro Atlanta, the highest concentration is Fulton County’s ZIP 30314 where there is one “haunted” home for every 386 houses, according to RealtyTrac.

The largest number is in Bibb County’s 31214: 41 empty homes with un-alive owners.

All together, the state has 382 of these “haunted” homes, by RealtyTrac’s count. Now, presumably most of these owners are no longer making the mortgage payments – so the title is going to go to someone else – a relative or companion or friend who might want to keep it.

But some of those new owners will likely be banks. Nobody likes vacant properties – bad for the neighborhood. So we have to hope that the new owners can, ahem, scare up some sales…

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