story by Kim Souza
It wasn’t a record year, but 2013 was the third best year of all time for home sales in Benton and Washington counties, according to Paul Bynum, economist with MountData.com.
“Real estate in 2013 was amazing. It never slowed down for me,” said Nicky Dou, an executive broker for Keller Williams in Rogers.
Dou said she and husband Jerry, also a broker, had to hire a licensed assistant in July to keep up with the hectic demand.
“It was a great decision. Between Jerry and I we closed just under $28 million in sales volume last year,” Nicky Dou said.
This week she listed three more properties and said 2014 also has gotten off to a great start.
Bynum reports that agents like Dou cumulatively sold more than 7,200 homes in 2013 across the two local counties. Unit sales rose 17.9% from 2012 as agents sold 1,100 more homes than in prior year. Total sales volume topped $1.315 billion in 2013, the best year since 2006. Bynum said total sales volume rose 25% from the prior year, and lagged the record set in 2005 by 15%.
Two of the largest firms in Northwest Arkansas, Coldwell Bankers and Crye-Leike Realty each reported stellar returns in 2013.
“Overall for the year, Crye-Leike NWA sales were up 15.5 % to $385 million with 2,535 Units (properties sold),” said CEO Harold Crye.
George Faucette, CEO of the local Coldwell Banker franchise, said his firm posted an 18.7% increase in sales volume between 2012 and 2013. He said unit sales rose 16.% year-over-year. Faucette said the market has come along way back since 2011. When comparing against that year, Coldwell Bankers’ sales volume is up 57.7%, while units rose 42.3%.
When home sales are hot, the number players in the market will grow and that is the case in Northwest Arkansas, according to Bynum.
At the end of 2013, Bynum reports there 306 companies that were members of the Multiple Listing Service that recorded sales in Northwest Arkansas. Eight new companies have signed on since 2012 and there were some other agency consolidations that occurred in the market as well.
At the end of 2013, there were 1,700 agents who made at least one sale during the year, up from 1,596 at the end of 2012. Bynum said the 2013 median sales volume per agent was $1.135 million, up from $1.016 million in 2012.
Bynum said the metrics are in place for a strong 2014 as long as job numbers remain steady across the region.
Faucette predicts his firm to grow by roughly 12% in 2014 with actual sales dollar volume significantly surpassing those in 2013. This is an aggressive forecast given that as the base gets larger, percentages will tend to decrease.
Benton County is knocking on the $1 billion door for annual sales volume. Sales in the county during 2013 totaled $845.46 million in 2013, versus $692.02 million in 2012, or up 22.17%.
The hefty gain was not a function of rising home prices, because the median price in the county was 3.44% throughout last year. The trump card in Benton County is robust demand, as unit sales rose 18.6% to 4,571 homes.
“I believe it is not only possible but probable that Benton County will exceed $1 billion in sales volume in 2014 for all property types; but it will probably be 2015 or possibly 2016 before that level is achieved in residential sales only,” Faucette said.
He said Washington County's growth will be equally impressive in 2014, maybe even surpassing Benton County in its percentage increases.
Last year agents in Washington County sold 2,659 homes with a a total value of $470.538 million. Unit sales rose 16.87% year-over-year, while sale volume increased 24%, according to Bynum.