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Continuous swirl: foreclosure activity in Arkansas, nationally

Clearly much work remains to be done in large pockets across the country before economists and statisticians can confidently point to a complete and sustained recovery in the housing market.

In many states, including Arkansas, recovery since the advent of the so-called Great Recession has been uneven.

A recent report released by the national real estate firm RealtyTrac amply indicates that, with housing-related numbers reflecting both positive and negative developments.

Here's one representative example of that dichotomy. Over a recent two-year period, reports RealtyTrac, a downward trend in national foreclosure-related activity was clearly on display. Relevant numbers from last month, though, show that foreclosure filings in April spiked 9 percent from the same period one year earlier.

Does that signify a new and troubling trend, or is it merely a briefly worrisome blip en route to an enduring revival in the housing market?

Time will tell, of course, but a number of numbers relevant to the Arkansas market seemingly indicate that some further fallout must necessarily precede a meaningful market turnaround.

And those numbers hardly seem debatable. RealtyTrac states that foreclosures in Arkansas are currently up by nearly 50 percent from one year ago, which is certainly notable and dampening news.

Moreover, spiked foreclosure activity is evident in areas across the state, including Benton, Washington and Crawford counties.

That doesn't signify flat-out bad news across the board, though, note some industry commentators, who put a positive spin on the fact that much foreclosure activity owes to purposefully timed bank repossessions.

The hope is that the increase in bank-owned real estate will result in foreclosed homes being spruced up and sold, which will, in turn, elevate property values for surrounding homeowners and promote a healthier buy/sell situation across the state.

Again, that above-noted adage looms and seems appropriately inserted here: Time will tell.

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