RealtyTrac on Thursday released its first Registered Criminal Offender Risk Index, which compares average home equity and values with the number of registered criminal offenders in the area. It shows that home values are lower where criminals live.

According to the index, average equity and values were lower while foreclosure rates were higher in zip codes with a higher offender index than in zip codes with a lower offender index. However, home price appreciation has slightly strengthened over the past year and over five years in zip codes with a higher offender index than in those with a lower index.

“This new index provides concrete evidence that registered criminal offenders pose not only a potential safety risk for homeowners and their families, but also a potential financial risk for what is likely a homeowner’s biggest asset,” said Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at RealtyTrac. “This is clearly evident in the significantly lower home values and significantly higher foreclosure rates in zip codes with a higher offender index, but it may not be as evident in the home price appreciation numbers, which are actually slightly stronger over the past year and five years in zip codes with a higher offender index. However, the 10-year appreciation numbers demonstrate home values in the lowest-risk zip codes for offenders were not hit as hard during the housing downturn and have rebounded more quickly back to their previous highs – even exceeding those previous highs.”

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