During the first two weeks of November, the city of Fort Smith issued 233 permits valued at $6.14 million. That is slightly off the October pace of 644 permits valued at $16.2 million for the full month.
However, the city issued 11 new home construction permits with a total value of $1.09 million in the first two weeks of November. That’s a “far better than average” pace, according to Dave Hughes, executive director of the Greater Fort Smith Association of Home Builders.
Hughes expressed no concern about local home overbuilding in the midst of the national housing market woes.
“The builders and developers here are pretty conservative as a rule,” Hughes said Friday. “Yeah, it’s a scary time. However, interest rates are down less than 6 percent on some mortgages. This is a good time to get in if your financial situation is good.”
The effects of the April and June hail and wind storms, respectively, continue to be seen in the building permit reports. During the first two weeks of November, the city of Fort Smith issued 184 residential building permits, with just 11 of those for new home construction.
The 173 permits for repair in the two-week period does not surprise Hughes. He predicts about 8,000 repair permits will have been issued between April and December. Hughes “guesstimated” that about 20,000 homes were damaged in the Fort Smith region during those storms.
“That (repair work) has really bridged the slowdown in housing. That’s kept the building supply industry surviving in Fort Smith this year,” he said.
(Photo caption: A construction crew works on a home in a new subdivision near Arkansas 253 and Interstate 540 in southwest Fort Smith.)