GAO: Vacant foreclosures cost money.

A recent study from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that vacant properties across the United States rose 51 percent over the span of a decade, from nearly 7 million in 2000 to 10 million in April 2010. Ten states saw vacancies go up by 70 percent or more as a result of high foreclosure rates. Those with the largest increases over the last decade were Nevada (126 percent), Minnesota (100 percent), New Hampshire (99 percent), Arizona (92 percent), and Florida (90 percent). Georgia, Michigan, Colorado, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts also experienced increases above 70 percent. The elevated number of vacant homes carries with it a hefty price tag for lenders that must resume ownership after foreclosure. GAO found that in 2010, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac reimbursed servicers and vendors over $953 million for property maintenance costs.