There is a stark dichotomy operative across the United States in the wake of the economic downturn of recent years.

On the one hand, the housing debacle (wrought by lending irregularities and bad-faith lenders’ conduct), massive numbers of job losses across the country, plummeting money markets and other negative consequences of the Great Recession have not been universal and permanent features of the American economic landscape.

That is, many people have managed to stay the course and even reverse their bad fortunes. In a figurative sense, they have weathered the storm.

On the other hand, though, many other people have endured significant long-term and ongoing losses in the tempest.

Foreclosures stand as a mighty example of that and as a prime barometer of the economic dislocation that continues to divide homeowners into two camps nationally.

So-called “zombie” foreclosures are an especially notable problem in a number of areas across the country. As noted in a recent media overview on foreclosure activity, a sizable minority of states “have seen a resurgence” in foreclosures of that type in recent months.

With a zombie foreclosure in Mississippi or elsewhere, no one is home, and that means quite literally. People survey their situation, see themselves as being underwater — permanently behind in their mortgage payments and with negative equity — and simply depart the premises.

Dust gathers. Pipes break. Weeds grow. For obvious reasons (and especially when lending banks do not timely step in following a homeowner’s departure), zombie foreclosures are comparatively obvious in a survey of most areas.

The national real estate firm RealtyTrac reports that almost 25 percent of all foreclosed homes at the end of last month were already abandoned by their prior occupants prior to being repossessed by lenders.

Relevant numbers indicate that there are still many homes nationwide that must work their way through the foreclosure process.

That will take time, meaning that we could conceivably still be referencing zombie foreclosures and other repossessions for many months to come.

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