One in 581 households across the natural state were involved in foreclosures proceedings during the first half of this year. Homeowners in Sebastian County fared better with one in 651 seriously delinquent on their mortgages, according to Irvine, Calif.-based RealtyTrac.com.
Meanwhile, one in every 568 households in Crawford County are caught up in the foreclosure pipeline so far this year.
At those numbers in the two-county area, filings are down roughly 80% from the same period of last year as legal proceedings essentially put a moratorium on foreclosure activity since October 2011. A recent ruling reversal in the Eastern District of Arkansas has allowed the foreclosure pipeline to gradually open.
“We are starting to see more foreclosure properties since the ruling was reversed in April. In the past 30 days, 59 new HUD and bank-owned properties have come back into the multiple listing service for this entire region which includes Fort Smith,” said Vicki Briolat, broker with Crye-Leike Real Estate in Bentonville.
She said there are 254 bank-owned properties in the listing service, that compared to 258 properties last month.
Kevin King, broker with Weichert Realtors, said the foreclosure market has been stable and those homes generally sell relatively quickly. He said demand for rental property remains strong in the Fort Smith market.
In June, there were 20 new filings in the Sebastian and Crawford counties. Those filings ranged from initial default notices to bank repossession. Total foreclosure activity fell 84% in the two-county area from a year ago, according to RealtyTrac.
“Additional scrutiny on how lenders and servicers process foreclosures, along with aggressive foreclosure prevention efforts by the federal government and several state governments, continue to keep a lid on the foreclosure problem at a national level,” said Brandon Moore, CEO of RealtyTrac.
He said lenders and servicers are slowly but surely catching up with the backlog of delinquent loans that under normal circumstances would have started the foreclosure process last year, and that catching up is why the average time to complete the foreclosure process started to level off or decrease in some states in the second quarter.
As these properties progress through the pipeline unencumbered from litigation, Moore expects to see more short sales and bank repossessions in the back half of this year.
The average time to process a foreclosure in Arkansas ranged between 126 and 157 days prior to the moratorium placed last fall. In the third quarter of 2011 foreclosures stalled out 387 days, that time frame shortened to 326 days in the first quarter of this year and fell to 188 days in the quarter ending June 30.
Arkansas is a non-judicial state which allows banks to forego longer court proceedings and a judge’s signature that is required in states with mandatory judicial foreclosures.
New York holds the record for the longest foreclosure time frame at 1,001 days in the second quarter.
Bank-owned (REO) properties that sold in the second quarter took an average of 195 days to sell from the time they were foreclosed, up from 178 days in the first quarter. REO properties took the longest to sell in New York, at 430 days, followed by Arkansas at 357 days and New Jersey at 354 days.
FORECLOSURE FILINGS (2nd quarter ending June 30)
Fort Smith Region (Properties in the foreclosure process)