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Local foreclosures creep higher amid U.S. slowdown

story by Kim Souza
ksouza@thecitywire.com

Arkansas was one of 29 states to see an increase in foreclosure activity in July, as lenders continue to work through a backlog of properties held up by federal litigation filed two years ago.

There were 742 new foreclosure filings across Arkansas in July, according to Irvine, Calif.-based RealtyTrac, a 152% increase in the delinquent mortgage activity from a year ago.

“While foreclosures are continuing to boil over in a select group of markets where state legislation and court rulings kept a lid on foreclosure activity during the worst of the housing crisis,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac.

RealtyTrac reported 130,888 foreclosure filings in the U.S., down 32% from a year ago. The report also shows one in every 1,001 U.S. housing units with a foreclosure filing during the month.

Arkansas led the nation in bank repossession rates last month taking back 344 properties, a 266% increase over the prior year.

Oklahoma ranked second behind Arkansas with 126% increased rate of bank repossessions.
 
In Benton County, one in every 686 households were facing possible foreclosure. There were 134 new filings last month, up 152% from the
year-ago period. Bank repossessions accounted for 71% of the total filings.

In Washington County there were 55 new filings in July, up nearly 62% from a year ago. One in every 1,573 households in Washington County
were serious delinquent on their mortgages.

Jim Long, agent with Crye-Leike Real Estate in Bentonville, said there are 396 foreclosure listings in the Multiple Listing Service database which includes Crawford and Sebastian counties in addition to the local metro area.  

Long said there have been 64 new foreclosure listings in the past 10 days. Last month the MLS showed 296 distressed properties for sale. Distressed listings have risen from 249 in April and 222 in March.

Sebastian County reported 24 new foreclosure filings in July, up 50% from a year ago. Unlike those in Northwest Arkansas, two-thirds of the filings in the Fort Smith metro area were for notices of trustee sale, the midway point in the somewhat lengthy foreclosure process.

RealtyTrac estimates that one in every 2,262 households in Sebastian County are in jeopardy of foreclosure.

The smaller Crawford County market reported 12 new foreclosure filings in July. This compared to 3 in the prior-year period, an increase of 300%. Roughly one in every 2,149 households in the county are facing possible foreclosure as of July.

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And like Sebastian County, the vast majority of the new filings were for notices of trustee sale.

In the foreclosure process the notice of default generally occurs within 90 to 120 days of delinquency, the second phase of trustee sale can take another 60 days to execute, which leaves the final phase of bank repossession and resale.

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