RealtyTrac estimates that 47% of the nation's foreclosed homes are currently occupied. The percentage actually tops 60% in some hot housing markets, like Miami and Los Angeles.
Those still living in repossessed homes include both former owners and renters. Either way, their time in the homes is mortgage and rent free.
To arrive at its estimate, RealtyTrac compared its database of foreclosed homes with postal records showing whether mail was still being collected and whether change-of-address forms had been filed.
Even when occupants leave voluntarily, old owners typically take about two months to vacate.
With renters, it can take a year or more. "If someone has a bona fide rental agreement, we have to abide by that," said Amy Bonitatibus, a spokeswoman for JP Morgan Chase. Read more >>