Fort Smith area real estate sales rally 25% in May, year-to-date unit sales up 14%

by Kim Souza (ksouza@talkbusiness.net) 18 views 

Crawford and Sebastian counties experienced the highest volume month in real estate sales in 2016 and expectations for moderate growth continue to come true, according to Kevin King, owner of King Weichert Real Estate in Fort Smith.

Realtors in the two counties sold 202 homes in May valued at more than $30.415 million, better than the 192 homes sold a year ago, with sales volume rising 25% year-over-year. Unit sales were up 4.5% year-over-year.

Prices are rising in Sebastian County as are the number of higher valued homes sold which is pushing the total sales volume up faster than overall unit sales growth. In May the median sales price in Sebastian County was $134,000, rising 14.3% from the $117,200 reported a year ago. The most expensive home sale last month in Sebastian County was a five bedroom, six bath home with 6,900 square feet that sold for $995,500, which was the list price. The luxury home was on the market for roughly two years.

In smaller Crawford County median home prices fell slightly to $112,500 from $115,850 a year ago. This county’s growth pace in May was somewhat slower than its neighbor as total volume was up 9% year-over-year. The most expensive home sale in Crawford County last month was a four bedroom, four bath home with 4,006 square feet which sold at $400,000, $25,000 below the list price. This home was on the market more than 2.5 years.

The median price per square foot jumped in May to $73.51 in Sebastian County and $75.10 in Crawford County, possibly the result of more newer homes being sold in the month. For the full five month period the median price per square foot is around $70.50 in both markets, up slightly from a year ago. King said homes in desirable neighborhoods that are priced to sell are seeing multiple offers on a regular basis which is a sign the market is starting to see a greater balance of buyers and sellers.

“While I wouldn’t go as far as saying we are out of the buyer’s market that we’ve seen for the past several years, it does appear to continue the slow, steady improvement we’ve come to expect of the river valley market,” he said.

GROWING MOMENTUM
“Properties seem to be selling in less time on average than in 2015 and average prices are growing as well. Interest rates continue to stay at levels that make the payments for financing a home look more attractive than renting,” King added.

Through the first five months of 2016 there were 622 homes sold in Sebastian County valued at more than $87.164 million. Unit sales are up 11.66% over the same period last year and sales volume rose 11.5% from 2015.

King said the Fort Smith market is seeing steady demand from buyers as the local economy continues to improve. Fort Smith is lion’s share of the Sebastian County market. Median home prices were basically flat with a year ago at $117,000, but average home prices are up more than 5.8% to $148,545 through May.

In Crawford County, the year-to-date growth is slightly more robust than in Sebastian County. There have been 280 homes sold through May. The value of those deals totaled $35.142 million, up 29.5% year-over-year. Unit sales through May are up 19.6% from a year ago.

Real estate has a positive impact to the overall economy. The National Association of Realtors estimates that one job is generated for every two home sales. Using that ratio, 1,000 home sales generate 500 jobs. For the The Fort Smith area market economies in Sebastian and Crawford counties using that formula home sales would support about 450 new local jobs so far this year.

FORT SMITH METRO HOME SALES (January through May)
Crawford County
Unit Sales
2016: 280
2015: 234
19.65%

Sales Volume
2016: $35.142 million
2015: $27.130 million
29.53%

Median Sales Price
2016: $109,450
2015: $107,500
1.81%

Sebastian County
Unit Sales
2016: 622
2015: 557
11.66%

Sales Volume
2016: $87.164 million
2015: $78.143 million
11.54%

Median Sales Price
2016: $117,000
2015: $117,250
– 0.21%

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