California-based Attom Data Solutions, which tracks national housing and foreclosure data, says distressed sales in the U.S. are at a nine-year low.
Attom’s report showed distressed sales — including bank-owned (REO) sales, sales of homes actively in foreclosure and short sales — accounted for 16.2% of all single-family home and condo sales last year, down from 18.8% in 2015, and the lowest level since 2007 (13.7%). After a peak of 41.8% in 2011, distressed sales have dropped five consecutive years, according to Attom.
“This was all good news for home sellers, who realized their biggest average profits since purchase nationwide in 2016,” said Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at Attom Data Solutions. “Even distressed property sellers are benefitting from this hot seller’s market, with a record-high share of homes at foreclosure auction being purchased by third-party buyers rather than reverting back to the foreclosing bank.”
In Arkansas, distressed home sales accounted for 18.9% of all single-family home and condo sales last year, which ranked No. 13 among all U.S. states. That’s an improvement over the last two years, according to the Attom data. Arkansas’ distressed share rate in 2014 was 24.2%, earning a U.S. rank of No. 11.
Maryland had the highest rate of distressed home sales in 2016 at 28.3%, followed by Delaware (25.1%) and Illinois (22.4%).
Among 193 metropolitan statistical areas with a population of 200,000 or more and at least 100 distressed sales in 2016, the Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway MSA ranked No. 43 with a distressed share of 21.2% last year. That’s down slightly from 23.2% in 2014. The Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers MSA ranked No. 98 with a distressed share of 15.6%, down sharply from 28.8% from 2014. (Attom did not provide detailed data on the Fort Smith and Jonesboro metro areas.)
Kim Minor, principal broker and owner of RE/MAX Real Estate Results in Bentonville, credits the region’s continued growth for keeping distressed home sales below the national average.
“With the influx of jobs, people moving to our area and rising property values, the number of distressed sales should continue to decline,” she said.
MSAs with the highest share of total distressed sales were Atlantic City, N.J., at 43.8%, Hagerstown-Martinsburg, Md.-W.Va., at 33.2% and Rockford, Ill. and Montgomery, Ala., both at 29.2%.
Attom also tracked distressed home sales numbers from eight specific Arkansas counties. In the state’s most populous county (Pulaski), the share of total distressed sales was 21% last year, up slightly from 18.9% in 2015. Bank-owned properties accounted for 12.5% of all distressed sales in Pulaski County last year, up from 11% in 2015. In Northwest Arkansas, the Attom data shows distressed sales accounted for 15.4% of sales in Benton County last year, a decline from 28.8% from two years earlier. Bank-owned sales also dropped markedly in the two-year period, from 17.9% to 7.5%. In Washington County, the percentage of distressed home sales last year was 21.8% last year, down from 28.8% in 2014.
Other counties where there was sufficient data to report distressed home sales in 2016, according to Attom, include Cleburne (20%), Faulkner (17.5%), Garland (16.6%), Lonoke (26.6%) and Saline (22.3%).
HOME PRICES TRENDING HIGHER
In addition to distressed sales trending lower, the Attom data also shows home prices trending higher. In fact, Arkansas hit an all-time high in 2016 with a statewide median sales price of $145,000.That’s up 4.3% from 2015, and up 16% in the last decade.
The housing boom is more evident in Northwest Arkansas than central Arkansas, Blomquist said.
“Although home sale prices in Pulaski County ($142,500) are up from the bottom in 2011, they are only up 3%,” he explained. “Median home sale prices in Benton County ($157,000) and Washington County ($167,500) are up about 35% during that same period, and Benton County reached a new all-time high in 2016.”
PERCENTAGE OF TOTAL DISTRESSED SALES
2016 – 16.2%
2015 – 18.8%
2014 – 22.5%
2016 – 18.9%
2015 – 18.7%
2014 – 24.2%
2016 – 15.6%
2015 – 18.3%
2014 – 28.8%
Little Rock metro
2016 – 21.2%
2015 – 19.4%
2014 – 23.2%
* REO sales, short sales, or foreclosure auctions sold to third-party buyers.