New Jersey is third in the nation for its number of so-called "zombie foreclosures," properties stuck in the foreclosure process for so long that both the bank and the owner have abandoned them.

Justin Sullivan, Getty Images
Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

The wallets of Garden State residents have taken a collective hit due to the high number of zombies. Only Florida, which accounts for one-third of all zombie foreclosures nationwide, and New York rank higher.

Here in New Jersey, the court system is a big part of the problem. The state has one of the longest foreclosure processes in the country, averaging 378 days per case. Right now, there are more than 12,000 zombie foreclosures across the state.

"One of the side effects of these zombies is the tax base," said Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac, who added that municipalities statewide are losing an estimated $144 million in property tax revenue from properties that are just sitting there.

Blomquist said everyone is affected by this drawn-out process.

"That's where the rubber meets the road, to a certain extent, in affecting the local communities and local governments," he said.

Camden County currently has the highest number of zombie foreclosures in New Jersey with 1,400, followed by Ocean County's 1,200. Burlington County is third, with just under a thousand.

There were more than 141,000 zombie foreclosures nationwide in the second quarter of 2014.

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