Arkansas foreclosures spike in September, national numbers were down 24%

by Paul Gatling (pgatling@nwabj.com) 6 views 

The number of foreclosures filed in Arkansas spiked in September compared with previous months, a contrast with the continued decline in activity across the United States.

According to a report from California-based Attom Data Solutions, which tracks national housing and foreclosure data, there were 547 foreclosure filings in Arkansas in September, up 18.1% from September 2015 (486), and up 29% from August (445). By county, Pulaski County had the most in the month with 119, followed by Benton (54), Faulkner (39), Saline (38) and Lonoke (29) counties.

Nationwide, however, foreclosures were down 24% from September 2015, according to the report. The 82,972 homes that were in some stage of foreclosure in September is the lowest level since December 2005.

“Foreclosure activity has been on a steady slide downward over the past six years, finally dropping back below pre-crisis levels in September,” said Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at Attom Data Solutions.

Blomquist told Talk Business & Politics the Arkansas numbers are still within a normal range of foreclosure activity and shouldn’t necessarily raise a red flag. Arkansas still ranks No. 29 among states for foreclosure filings per number of homes, with No. 1 meaning the most filings. That’s up 11 spots from September 2015, but still relatively low compared to other states.

“This isn’t the beginning of a new wave of housing problems in the market, necessarily,” Blomquist said. “I would chalk this up to normal foreclosure activity. Certainly, if we saw this continue for five or six months, then that could be spelling trouble. And in a state like Arkansas, you’re talking about hundreds of foreclosures, as opposed to some states where you see thousands. There can be pretty big percentage increases even though you’re talking about relatively low numbers.”

Overall, foreclosures are just a sliver of the state’s overall housing market. Just 0.04% of the state’s 1.32 million housing units was in the foreclosure pipeline in September.

CENTRAL ARKANSAS
Pulaski County, the state’s most populous county, topped all Arkansas counties with 119 foreclosures in September, but that’s still down 8.4% from the previous year. The foreclosures account for 0.07% of the 178,659 households in the county.

In neighboring Faulkner County, there were 39 total foreclosures in September, compared to 26 one year ago. Attom reports 19 of those have already been recovered by the bank and are awaiting re-sale. The remainder were slated for auction. One in every 1,232 households in the county is in the midst of foreclosure, one of the highest rates in the state.

NORTHWEST ARKANSAS
New foreclosure cases dropped 35% in Benton and Washington counties in September, the report shows. There were 75 filings in the two-county area last month, compared with 116 in September 2015.

By county, the breakdown shows 54 in Benton County, a 36.4% decrease from a year ago, and 21 in Washington County, down 32.2%, according to the Attom report. One in every 1,761 households in Benton County was slated for foreclosure, compared to Washington County, where the ratio was one in every 4,225 households.

FORT SMITH METRO
Foreclosure filings in Crawford County were up 400% from a year ago, with 15 reported foreclosures in September, compared to only three a year ago. Twelve of the delinquencies are slated for auction.

In neighboring Sebastian County, reported foreclosures were up 285.7% year-over-year, from seven in September 2015 to 27 last month. The household foreclosure rate is one in every 2,053 households, or 0.05%.

NORTHEAST ARKANSAS
There were 16 foreclosure filings in September in Craighead County, up 166.7% from the same month a year ago and a 60% gain from August. The household foreclosure rate in Craighead County remains low at one in every 2,620 households, or 0.04%.

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