U.S. stuck with "extraordinary" level of vacant homes: Fed's Duke

The U.S. housing bust has saddled the country with an "extraordinary" level of abandoned properties, inflicting heavy costs on the wider community which may warrant government aid to ease the problem, a top U.S. central banker said on Friday.

"In order to see the robust economic recovery we all want, we need to deal effectively with the large volume of vacant and distressed properties throughout the country," said Federal Reserve Board Governor Elizabeth Duke.

In prepared remarks to a New York conference on the distressed U.S. property market, Duke noted that although unsold home inventory levels have declined as real estate has picked up, the number of abandoned homes remains stubbornly high.

(Reporting by Alister Bull; Editing by James Dalgleish)