Arkansas’ large market home sales dip in January, average prices rise

by The City Wire staff (info@thecitywire.com) 49 views 

Home sales in Arkansas’ four large markets were down 2.55% in January after posting an almost 4% gain in all of 2014. Driving the January numbers lower was an almost 11% decline in home sales in the central Arkansas market.

However, the average price of a home sold in the four markets was up almost 9% in January.

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.

There were 21,447 homes sold in Arkansas’ four largest markets in 2014, up 3.8% over 2013 and up 17.33% over 2012. The total value of home sold in the four markets during 2014 was $3.554 billion, up 3.24% over 2013 and up 18.97% compared to 2012. Gains in the number of homes sold in 2014 certainly varied by market. Sales totaled 9,904 in central Arkansas, up 2.32%. In the Fort Smith region, which has an economy not yet on stable footing, home sales were up a surprising 14.33% for the year.

JANUARY NUMBERS
January home sales in the four markets totaled 1,222, down 2.55% compared to January 2014, and up 5.98% compared to January 2013. The average price per home in the four markets during January was $157,090, up 8.72% compared to January 2014, and up 2.59% compared to January 2013. The total value of sales in the four markets during January was $191.964 million, up 5.94% compared to January 2014 and up 8.73% compared to January 2013.

There were 544 homes sold in central Arkansas, down 10.97% compared to January 2014, and down 5.56% compared to January 2013.

January home sales totaled 436 in Northwest Arkansas, up 8.19% compared to January 2014, and up 10.94% compared to January 2013.

Jonesboro area home sales totaled 124, down 2.36% compared to January 2014 and up 18.1% compared to January 2013.

In the Fort Smith area, home sales totaled 118, up 4.42% compared to January 2014, and up 49.37% compared to January 2013.

The total value of the sales during January were down 6.13% in central Arkansas, up 19.48% in Northwest Arkansas, up 14.9% in the Jonesboro area, and up 6.97% in the Fort Smith region.

THE REGIONAL PICTURE: 2015
Central Arkansas — Home sales
January 2015: 544
January 2014: 611
January 2013: 576

Fort Smith area — Home sales
January 2015: 118
January 2014: 113
January 2013: 79

Jonesboro area — Home sales
January 2015: 124
January 2014: 127
January 2013: 105

Northwest Arkansas — Home sales
January 2015: 436
January 2014: 403
January 2013: 393

The top five counties in terms of January 2015 home sales:
Benton — 257, down compared to 258 in 2014 
Pulaski — 239, down compared to 282 in 2014 
Washington — 179, up compared to 145 in 2014
Craighead — 98, down compared to 103 in 2014
Faulkner — 88, up compared to 67 in 2014

Link here for a PDF document of the January 2015 data.

MARKET OBSERVATIONS
Vicki Briolat, agent with Crye-Leike Real Estate in Northwest Arkansas, said buyer confidence is positive and there are far fewer low ball offers made as the foreclosure market continues to weaken.

“Some people were buried so long under flat to negative equity in their homes, but that is changing as property values continue to rise. We are looking for a strong spring season and with Walmart bonuses coming in March, now is the time for resellers to list if they want to move up or down,” Briolat said.

Kevin King, owner of Weichert King Realty Group in the Fort Smith area, said the reduction in mortgage insurance premiums is timely to help offset what is expected to be higher interest rates by the end of 2015.

“Three predictions I have heard recently is that interest rates will be 5% by the end of 2015, (with) most of that move coming in the back half of this year,” King said.

While 5% is historically a low mortgage rate, it is considerably higher than 3.5% to 4% rates now available.

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