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Is Arkansas at risk of an attack of 'Zombie Foreclosures'?

The real estate market analysis firm RealtyTrac is out with some of its latest numbers. It reports that the tally of properties across the country that were under foreclosure fell in February for the 41st month in a row. The company says the figures for last month were the lowest recorded since December 2006.

Overall, RealtyTrac says foreclosures were down 9 percent from January. Compared to February 2013, they were down 27 percent. Still, there were 14 states in which foreclosure starts actually went up. 

Arkansas was among the majority of states in which home foreclosure rates declined. RealtyTrac says there were just 398 filings in the state in February. That's down 50 percent from this time last year.

A spokesman for RealtyTrac says the figures show that the big issue now is not so much the threat of new foreclosures. Rather, he says the concern is from what he calls "zombie foreclosures." Those are homes under foreclosure that may have fallen into states of disrepair, either because the former homeowners have walked away from them or the lien-holding bank hasn't bothered to deal with them.

RealtyTrac says that approximately 25 percent of homes now in foreclosure across the U.S. fit the zombie criteria. It says Arkansas is well down the list of the states with such vacated premises. But it says the time it takes for a vacated home in the state to clear foreclosure is the longest on record at 1,128 days.

Most of the information in the RealtyTrac report is likely to be considered as welcome news. For those homeowners in Arkansas, though, who are now under threat of foreclosure or fear they could be, it is sure to be of little consolation.

Someone fearing the loss of their home should be sure they know all their debt relief options including, perhaps, foreclosure protection available through Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy. To do that, contact an attorney.

Source: The City Wire, "Regional and statewide foreclosure activity slows in February," Kim Souza, March 13, 2014
Source: The Wall Street Journal, "U.S. Foreclosure Filings Drop 27% in February -- RealtyTrac," Anna Prior, March 13, 2014

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