Homes sold in the Fort Smith area up 8.7% in the first quarter of 2016

by Kim Souza (ksouza@talkbusiness.net) 23 views 

Home sales in Crawford and Sebastian counties during the first three months of 2016 totaled $60.768 million, up 10.81% over the $54.835 million in the first quarter of last year.

Agents sold 460 homes in the two-county area, up 8.74% over the same three-month period last year, according to data provided by Weichert King Real Estate in Fort Smith.

Of the total, 321 homes were in Sebastian County and primarily in the Fort Smith market. Sebastian County homes sales totaled $43.773 million through the first quarter of the year, up 6.03% from the $41.281 million reported a year ago.

“While the River Valley housing market seemed to have awaken somewhat slowly in 2016, year-to-date the statistics show steady growth,” said Kevin King, broker and owner of King Wiechert Group. “The average price was flat at just above the $136,000 mark. Homes in Sebastian county took approximately 152 days to find the buyer in 2015 while 2016 is seeing a quicker clip at 144 Days on Market (DOM).”

He said low interest rates continue to bolster the housing market. The active investor looking for a deal has also supported the sales and the lower price ranges this year.

“Approximately 75% of homes sold in the two-county area are under the $150,000 price point,” King said.

Crawford County reported 139 home sales in the first three months of 2016, valued at $16.995 million. The sales increased from 120 units valued at $13.554 million during the same period in 2015. King said homes in Crawford County are selling in an average of 144 days compared to 123 days on the market in 2015. Average prices of sold homes rose from $112,950 to $122,269 year-over-year.

MARCH DATA
March is an important month in real estate market. Days lengthen and the school year reaches the 7th inning, with agents typically busy writing more listings ahead of the spring and summer selling season.

Both counties also reported strong results in March with combined sales volume of $26.322 million for the 198 homes sold last month. The majority of them, 140 homes, were sold in Sebastian County for a cumulative total volume of $19.155 million.

While agents sold five more homes in March than in the prior year, the total sales volume dipped 6.51% thanks to lower home prices. The median sales price in Sebastian County fell to $104,950 in March, down from $124,000 a year ago when several very large home sales skewed the numbers. King said the average home prices remained steady at roughly $136,000 through the first quarter of this year and last.

In Crawford County there were 58 home sales in March valued at $7.167 million. Sales volume increased 36.4%, while unit sales rose 34.8% year-over-year.

INTEREST RATE WATCH
King said interest rates are still very low for buyers and that’s something agents closely watch.

Earlier this month Kiplinger economists said they expect interest rates to remain at very low levels for much of the next month or so with the 10-year Treasury note yielding less than 2%. The jury is still out on whether the Federal Reserve will enforce a small rate hike at its June meeting. Kiplinger analysts think they will, while Wells Fargo economists say it’s unlikely. Both agree if there is a rate hike in June it will be last one until after the election in November.

By the end of this year, Kiplinger expects the 10-year Treasury bond rate will rise to 2.4% from the 1.8% level now and 30-year mortgages rates will increase to 4.2% from 3.7% at this time.

HOME SALES (January through March)
Crawford County
Unit Sales
2016: 139
2015: 120

Sales Volume
2016: $16.995 million
2015: $13.554 million

Median Sales Price
2016: $122,269
2015: $112,950

Sebastian County
Unit Sales
2016: 321
2015: 303

Sales Volume
2016: $43.773 million
2015: $41.281 million

Median Sales Price
2016: $109,500
2015: $114,500

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