Arkansas foreclosure filings flare up

Roughly 800 homeowners across Arkansas face potential foreclosure as they are part of a growing number of residents more than 90-days behind on their mortgages, according to a recent report from RealtyTrac.

In February, RealtyTrac reported 154,281 U.S. properties had received some type of foreclosure filing during the month. The rate of delinquency rose 2% from January, but was still 25% below the levels from a year ago.

That was not the case on the local scene. Nearly 25% of the state’s foreclosure filings were for properties in Northwest Arkansas. The vast majority of those are in Benton County.

There were 132 new foreclosure filings across Benton County in February, up 80% from a year ago. The majority of the homes -- 98 of them -- where set for trustee auction which is the second phase in the somewhat lengthy foreclosure process.

One in every 303 households in Benton County are in some phase of foreclosure, as of the February report. The national rate is one in 849 households, according to RealtyTrac.

“At a high level the U.S. foreclosure inferno has been effectively contained and should be reduced to a slow burn in the next two years,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. “But dangerous foreclosure flare-ups are still popping up in states where foreclosures have been delayed by a lengthy court process or by new legislation making it more difficult to foreclose outside of the court system. Foreclosure starts have been steadily building in those states over the last several months and likely will end up as bank repossessions or short sales later this year.”

Arkansas is among more than a dozen states seeing filings flare up as the moratorium was lifted more than nine months ago on foreclosures by out-of-state banks.

While statewide foreclosure filings rose 75% during February from a year ago, in Washington County the number declined. There were 61 new filings in Washington County last month, down 23% from a year ago. Like in Benton County, the majority of the filings -- 56 of them -- were in the second phase of the foreclosure pipeline and set for trustee auction.

Roughly one in 793 households in Washington County were in the midst of foreclosure during February.

FORT SMITH MARKET
The smaller Fort Smith metro also posted a spike in foreclosure filings during February.

Sebastian County reported 24 new filings last month, with 22 of those being homes set for trustee auction, according to RealtyTrac.

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The foreclosure rate rose nearly 85% from a year ago and affected one in every 1,093 households last month. This compared to one in 849 households at the national level.

In Crawford County there were 20 new foreclosure filings last month, up 100% from a year ago. Roughly one in 726 households were affected by foreclosure, which is slightly more prevalent than the national rate and roughly the same foreclosure rate found in neighboring Washington County.

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