Foreclosure filings in Arkansas dropped to a record low in 2019, according to a report Thursday (Jan. 16) from California-based Attom Data Solutions, which tracks national housing and foreclosure data.
The report showed that foreclosure filings – default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions – were reported on 2,911 properties in the state last year, down 19.4% from 2018 and down 85.3% from a peak of 19,757 in 2010. It is the lowest level since tracking began in 2005. The previous low was 2,934 in 2017.
The 2,911 properties with foreclosure filings in 2019 represented 0.22% of all Arkansas housing units. That is lower than 2018’s 0.27% and 2010’s peak of 1.52%. Arkansas’ foreclosure percentage last year ranked No. 36 in the U.S.
A home goes into the foreclosure process when the owner can’t pay the mortgage. Banks begin the foreclosure process by filing a notice of a foreclosure hearing that will decide whether a home is sold at auction. A home is considered “distressed” when it’s under any stage of foreclosure.
Nationwide, U.S. foreclosure activity also dropped to a historic low in 2019. According to the Attom data, foreclosure filings were reported on 493,066 U.S. properties last year, down 21% from 2018 and down 83% from a peak of nearly 2.9 million in 2010. It’s also the lowest level since tracking began in 2005.
The 493,066 properties with foreclosure filings in 2019 represented 0.36% of all U.S. housing units. That’s lower than 2018’s 0.47%, and 2010’s peak of 2.23%.
“The continued decline in distressed properties is one of many signs pointing to a much-improved housing market compared to the bad old days of the Great Recession,” Todd Teta, chief product officer for Attom, said in a statement. “That said, there is some reason for concern about the potential for a change in the wrong direction, given that residential foreclosure starts increased in about a third of the nation’s metro housing markets in 2019.
“Nationally, the number also ticked up a bit in December. While that’s not a major worry, it’s something that should be watched closely in 2020.”
The Northwest Arkansas metropolitan statistical area (MSAs) — defined as Benton, Washington and Madison counties in Arkansas and McDonald County in Missouri — continues to have one of the lowest foreclosure rates in the country. Among the 220 MSAs analyzed in the report, Northwest Arkansas had just 283 homes in some stage of foreclosure in 2019, 19.1% lower than the number a year ago.
The total equals one out of 739 homes (0.14%) in some stage of the foreclosure process last year in Northwest Arkansas. That ranks the region No. 206 out of the top 220 metro regions.
In other areas of the state, the central Arkansas metro of Faulkner, Grant, Lonoke, Saline, Pulaski and Perry counties ranked No. 88 among U.S. metros, with a foreclosure rate of 0.39%. That’s one out of every 256 homes in some stage of foreclosure. The region’s 1,255 properties in some stage of foreclosure is down from 1,677 foreclosure filings in 2018.
The Fort Smith metro — designated as Crawford and Sebastian counties in Arkansas and Le Flore and Sequoyah counties in Oklahoma — ranked No. 171 among U.S. metros, with a foreclosure rate of 0.23%. That’s one out of every 441 homes in some stage of foreclosure. The region’s 281 properties in some stage of foreclosure is down sharply from 363 foreclosure filings in 2018.
Among other Arkansas cities not included in an MSA by Attom, Jonesboro had 79 foreclosure filings in 2019, down 16% from the previous year. Hot Springs had 176 foreclosure filings last year, down 22% from 2018.