Year-to-date home sales up 6.1% in Fort Smith area, Sebastian County sales up almost 51% in August

by Kim Souza (ksouza@talkbusiness.net) 1 views 

The Fort Smith metro area housing market sizzled in August with 282 homes sold in Sebastian and Crawford counties valued at $36.93 million, according to data provided by Kevin King and Wiechert King Real Estate in Fort Smith.

King said Sebastian County sales were particularly strong with 217 sales transactions valued at $29.961 million, well ahead of the 144 sales totaling $19.324 million in the same month last year. King said it took an average of 146 days for a home to sell, which is basically flat against the 144 days on market reported a year ago.

Crawford County reported mixed results with unit sales rising 8% in August to 65 homes, while total sales value fell 14% to $6.969 million for the month. The average days on market was 140 in Crawford County.

In the first eight months of the year agents have sold 1,033 homes in Sebastian County valued at a combined $157.721 million. Units sales are up 7.38% from the 962 home sales in the same period of 2015, and the sales volume is up 15% over the $137.069 million reported a year ago.

Crawford County recorded 413 homes sold in the first eight months of this year, compared to 400 sales a year ago. The combined values of $52.083 million is up 7.47% over the $48.459 million reported in the year-ago period.

Average home prices through August in Sebastian County were $147,141, up 3.26% over the $142,484 average price from last year. Median prices through August were $119,000, up $900 from a year ago. In Crawford County, average home prices through August were $126,111 up 4% from a year ago. The median price in this market was up $500 to $114,900.

Agents selling in the local market say the steady sales pace heading into the fall is likely attributed to a better economy and low interest rates. Ron Calhoun, broker with Ron Calhoun & Associates in Fort Smith, said the new home market is also holding up well. Two subdivisions his firm has developed — Blackstone Ranch in the Greenwood School District and Lavaca River Point – are busy with interested buyers. He said there are just four lots remaining in the 106-lot Blackstone Ranch development.

“We sold our last spec house last night and we plan to start building out the four remaining lots in the next 30 days or so, filling up in just under four years. These homes range in size from 2,200 to 2,700 square feet and they are situated on 100-foot by 200-foot lots and cost between $269,000 and $400,000,” Calhoun said. “The Lavaca River Ranch development has about 48 lots left and these $175,000 homes are selling at a brisk rate because they have three-car garages, granite countertops, covered patios, wood and tile floors and they are located 10 minutes from Fort Smith.”

With respect to the overall market Calhoun said usually this time of year the market starts to dive downward, but through the middle of September sales remain very steady.

“We are not Northwest Arkansas, Dallas or Houston, but for our size we are seeing a pretty robust market much later than normal in the course of the year,” he added. “Title companies and lenders are busier too as the home market rally continues.”

King attributed the stronger buyer demand in part to interest rates remaining low with continued predictions that they rise in 2017. That said, King said that it’s not the best time for sellers.

“We continue to have more inventory than the available buyers will absorb and rumors and speculation continue about the potential disposition and potential job transfers or losses related to Golden Living. Should this come to pass, we would expect an additional rush of higher end homes on the market continuing the imbalance of sellers and buyers in the River Valley. Ultimately, consumers should keep their eyes open for deals and continue the conversation of potentially moving up to a larger home for potentially the same payment of their current home,” King added.

King said residential inventory through Aug. 31 had 677 active home listings in Sebastian County. In a given month there are usually less 200 homes sold which is more than three times the average number of monthly buyers. In Crawford County the available inventory reading stood at 289 listings as of Aug. 31. The average number of sales in a month’s time is usually 50 which is nearly six times the number of buyers making deals.

HOME SALES (January through August)
• Crawford County
Unit Sales
2016: 413
2015: 400
2014: 412

Sales Volume
2016: $52.083 million
2015: $48.459 million
2014: $47.727 million

Median Sales Price
2016: $114,900
2015: $114,500
2014: $114,000

• Sebastian County
Unit Sales
2016: 1,033
2015: 962
2014: 921

Sales Volume
2016: $157.721 million
2015: $137.069 million
2014: $121.069 million

Median Sales Price
2016: $119,900
2015: $119,000
2014: $114,000

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