Arkansas’ home sales market shows no signs of slowing down, with the number of homes sold during the first half of the year up more than 5% and the combined value of the homes sold up more than 2%. Home sales in June were up almost 9% in Arkansas four largest markets.
Also, the year-to-date 2014 numbers are up compared against what was a healthy Arkansas real estate market in 2013.
Home sales in Arkansas’ four largest metro areas during the first half of 2014 totaled 10,268, up 5.16% compared to the same period in 2013. According to The City Wire’s Arkansas Home Sales Report. The average price per home sold in the four markets was $162,291, down 2.79% compared to the same period in 2013, and the total value of $1.666 billion in the four markets was up 2.23%.
The City Wire’s Arkansas Home Sales Report captures home sales data in the state’s 14 most populated counties within its four largest metro areas — Central Arkansas, the Fort Smith area, Jonesboro/Northeast Arkansas and Northwest Arkansas. The report, which records closed sales, accounts for between 70% and 75% of total Arkansas home sales.
For the first six months of the year, only the Northwest Arkansas area had a decline (down 2.39%) in the number of homes sold compared to 2013.
June home sales totaled 2,087, up 8.75% in the four markets compared to June 2013, and up 15.24% compared to June 2012. The average price per home in the four markets during June was $174,172, down 1.39% compared to June 2013, but up 3.59% compared to June 2012.
There were 959 homes sold in central Arkansas, up 6.67% compared to June 2013, and up 11.9% compared to June 2012.
June home sales totaled 728 in Northwest Arkansas, up 4.9% compared to June 2013, and up 17.42% compared to June 2012.
Jonesboro area home sales totaled 205, up 19.88% compared to June 2013 and up 20.75% compared to June 2012.
In the Fort Smith area, home sales totaled 195, up 25.81% compared to June 2013, and up 10.8% compared to June 2012.
The value of the sales during June were down 1.76% in central Arkansas, up 11% in Northwest Arkansas, up 22.2% in the Jonesboro area, and up 38.29% in the Fort Smith region.
THE REGIONAL PICTURE: 2014
Central Arkansas — Home sales
Jan.-June 2014: 4,856
Jan.-June 2013: 4,599
Jan.-June 2012: 4,240
Fort Smith area — Home sales
Jan.-June 2014: 945
Jan.-June 2013: 790
Jan.-June 2012: 803
Jonesboro area — Home sales
Jan.-June 2014: 1,072
Jan.-June 2013: 897
Jan.-June 2012: 810
Northwest Arkansas — Home sales
Jan.-June 2014: 3,395
Jan.-June 2013: 3,478
Jan.-June 2012: 2,973
The top five counties in terms of Jan.-June 2014 home sales:
Pulaski — 2,261, up compared to 2,144 in 2013
Benton — 2,166, down compared to 2,176 in 2013
Washington — 1,229, down compared to 1,302 in 2013
Craighead — 844, up compared to 709 in 2013
Saline — 794, up compared to 711 in 2013
Link here for a PDF document of the June 2014 data.
Kathy Deck, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Arkansas, said the June report is typical for this year.
“It looks very much like what we’ve been seeing,” she said. “Overall, the economy is recovering. We’re seeing employment go up in the state. That, of course, brings with it some housing demand.”
In most markets, there has been an increase in the number of units sold and a decline in prices. Deck said three factors have come together to help boost sales – low interest rates, low unemployment and attractive pricing have all brought buyers to the closing table.
Another factor, she said, is that people do wonder when interest rates might rise and that is causing people to buy while they still have the increased purchasing power through low rates. While lower sales prices are attracting buyers, Deck said those are also a sign of some hesitance on the part of buyers. The economy may be recovering, but consumers are still cautious.
George Faucette, CEO of the Coldwell Banker franchise in Northwest Arkansas, believes the regional economy there can maintain the pace.
"I believe sales will strengthen only slightly, if any, for the second half of this year; but I do believe the pace of the first half is sustainable. Our agents are continuing to be very busy, and the general economy of Northwest Arkansas is doing very well,” Faucette said.
The numbers for the remainder of 2014 may not be rosy for Crawford County in the Fort Smith metro area. Van Buren was recently notified that its residents will not be eligible for Rural Development loan assistance through the U.S. Department of Agriculture after Oct. 1. According to Karen Phillips, housing and development director at the Crawford-Sebastian Community Development Council, the local administrators of the USDA Rural Development Loan program began looking at eligibility requirements after passage of the Farm Bill and noted that Van Buren was no longer eligible in part based upon its proximity to Fort Smith.
Vickie Davis, an agent Sagely & Edwards Realtors in Fort Smith, said the recent positive numbers in Crawford County may be the result of people anticipating the loss of the loan assistance program.
"A lot of people are trying to get things cleared out before that (Rural Development) stuff happens," Davis said.