There are more than 4,600 abandoned homes spread across Atlantic County, with the bulk in Egg Harbor Township, Galloway Township and Atlantic City. Municipalities in the county have been collecting data on empty and foreclosed homes to try and force those responsible for the properties – the banks, or mortgagees – to take responsibility for their upkeep, in an effort to prevent neighborhood blight.
We compiled an interactive map of the properties, using data obtained via an open records request from the Atlantic County Improvement Authority (ACIA).
The data, obtained earlier this month, is not perfect. Some street addresses listed in the database could not be identified. And some of these properties may have already been sold. But the map is a way of visualizing the vast scale of the foreclosure crisis in Atlantic County.
Folsom, Margate and Longport are the only Atlantic County municipalities not participating in the program that is coordinated by the ACIA, according to this national public survey of foreclosure registries. The rest of the county’s townships and cities charge between $250 and $500 a year in a registration fee to those responsible for empty properties in their municipality. Most municipalities began adopting ordinances last year to register the properties, but some – Pleasantville and Buena Vista Township – have had a foreclosure registry ordinance in place since 2014 (there are details on individual towns’ ordinances in a table at the end of this article).
The county-wide registry is compiled by a company contracted by ACIA called Community Champions, through a service called ProChamps. The company splits the registration fees three ways, between itself, the county and the municipality.
Foreclosure rates in Atlantic County have been slowing in the last year, but they remain high in Egg Harbor Township and Absecon/Galloway in particular. Real estate data company RealtyTrac says that in January this year, one in 313 homes in Egg Harbor Township and one in every 315 homes in Absecon/Galloway entered foreclosure. Those rates are twice as high as the one in 638 rate in Atlantic City, which had the highest foreclosure rate of any city in the nation last year, according to RealtyTrac.
The number of homes in foreclosure has been dropping over the last year but there has been an increase in bank-owned properties, according to RealtyTrac:
Here is a look at the Atlantic County municipalities’ ordinances on zombie or unoccupied properties:
|Municipality||Fees||Ordinance Enacted Date||Reg. Timeframe|
|Absecon||$500||02/19/2015||10 days following inspection, regardless of occupancy|
|Atlantic City||$500||02/17/2016||10 days following initiation of foreclosure process; annually|
|Brigantine||$300||01/20/2016||10 days following inpsection, regardless of occupancy|
|Buena Borough||$500||06/27/2016||within 10 days of inspection, regardless of occupancy status|
|Buena Vista Township||$500 escalating annual renewal schedule||11/24/2014||60 days following vacancy or 30 days following assumption of ownership, whichever is later; annually|
|Corbin City||$300||03/14/2016||10 days following inspection, regardless of occupancy status; annually|
|Egg Harbor City||$500||03/24/2016||10 days following inspection, regardless of occupancy status|
|Egg Harbor Township||$500||01/20/2016||10 days following inspection; annually|
|Estell Manor||$300||02/10/2016||10 days following inspection|
|Galloway||$300||02/23/2016||10 days following inspection; annually|
|Hamilton Township - Atlantic County||$500; annually|
|Hammonton||$500 escalating annual renewal schedule||04/18/2016||within 10 days of inspection, regardless of occupancy status|
|Linwood||$500||01/27/2015||10 days following inspections regardless of occupancy status|
|Mullica||$500||01/26/2016||10 days following inspection, regardless of occupancy status|
|Northfield||$300||02/09/2016||10 days following inspection, regardless of occupancy status; update of change of status from occupied to vacant required|
|Pleasantville||$500; annually escalated annual renewal schedule||10/22/2014||within 10 days following vacancy|
|Port Republic||$500||02/09/2016||10 days following inspection, regardless of occupancy status|
|Somers Point||$250 escalating annual renewal fee|
|Ventnor||$500||02/18/2016||10 days following inspections, regardless of occupancy|
|Weymouth||$300||02/03/2016||10 days following inspection|
|Municipality||Number of abandoned homes|
|BUENA VISTA TWP||157|
|EGG HARBOR CITY||124|
|EGG HARBOR TWP||975|
|ESTELL MANOR CITY||19|
|PORT REPUBLIC CITY||9|
|SOMERS POINT CITY||163|