The foreclosure mess is leaving a lot of homes empty across the country, putting downward pressure on prices and sales, according to new data.

We all know — or think we know — what states are in the roughest shape. But there are a few surprises.

At the top of the vacant-homes list is … Maine? Yes, Maine. Second on the list is … Vermont. Initially, it leaves you scratching your head, wondering what the heck is going on up there in northern New England. Did they go through a previously undisclosed subprime-mortgage frenzy that we didn’t hear about?

It turns out that the vast majority of vacant houses in Maine and Vermont are vacation homes. So they’re not really contributing to the housing problem in the nation, though it’s still weird to realize that about one in five homes in Maine are empty most days of the year.

File under: Don’t judge a data list by its cover

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