April home sales in Fort Smith include a pair of million-dollar deals

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 195 views 

It’s not every day or even every year that the Fort Smith metro area records two home sales valued in excess of $1 million, but that’s what happened in April. The former Sicard home on South O sold for $1.5 million and another large estate sold on Free Ferry at $1.2 million, according to Kevin King, broker with Weichert King Realtors in Fort Smith.

He said those two deals along with higher-end homes selling in Barling and Fianna Hills helped boost the average sales price higher for the month. At $165,655, the average home sales price rose 40% because of the large home activity. 

MountData.com reports that agents sold 114 homes in Sebastian County last month. King said 76 of them were located in Fort Smith. The total volume for Sebastian County home sales totaled $18.884 million, up 36% from the $13.874 million value reported a year ago. 

King said looking at the first four months of 2015, April held its own after what has been solid upward momentum over last year.

MountData reports 423 homes have sold in Sebastian County through April 2015, up 12% from the 377 homes sold during the same period last year. Total volume has appreciated faster given the April big home sales. The accumulated volume for the homes sold through April was $60.919 million, up 25% from the year-ago period.

King said median square foot prices are up a little in some areas of Fort Smith, but sellers on the most part are still having to be fairly aggressive on pricing even in established neighborhoods like Fianna Hills. He said there were eight homes sold last month in Fianna Hills Subdivision, and five of them sold for more than $200,000 but it took a while to close the transactions. King said on the short end of the time scale a deal was closed in 47 days and 150 days, but there were two sellers whose homes were on the market in excess of one year.

“The Fort Smith inventory is pretty flat, maybe down a little from a year ago, but it’s trending toward a more balanced level to the number of buyers in the market,” King said.

He said the number of showings have been up this spring and buyer confidence is as strong as its been in several years which has him bullish on the prospects for another solid year. 

“I expect sales will continue to trend higher at a slow pace throughout the summer to the end of the year. We are looking for growth in 2015 over last year because in part of lower interest rates, threat of rising rates and prices in the future,” King added.

Activity was better than in recent months in neighboring Crawford County where agents sold 53 homes, a few more than 46 sales in April 2014. Accumulated sales volume rose 34% to $6.153 million compared to $4.847 million a year ago, according to MountData.com.

A fairly active new home market is part of the reason sales in the Van Buren area are growing, according to local agents. The new home market pushed the median-square-foot price up to $73.30 this year, compared to $61.30 a year ago. Median square-foot prices are higher than in neighboring Sebastian County at $65.80 and much lower than in Washington County’s $91.40, MountData.com reports.

Limited inventory in Crawford County has helped the market maintain the shortest time on market among its neighboring counties. Homes in Crawford County took an average 79 days to obtain a contract this year. In Washington County, it took sellers 94 days to get a contract and in Sebastian County the time was 122 days. Even in an active Benton County it took sellers 102 days so far through the year to obtain a contract.

Year-to-date home sales have been pretty flat in Crawford County. MountData.com reports agents have sold 174 homes in Crawford County this year with a value of $19.833 million. This compares to 179 homes worth $19.361 million reported a year ago. While the unit sales have been flat, prices have been anything but. The median home price has risen 15% to $107,500 from a year ago’s $93,700 median home price.

Agents said Van Buren’s smaller market than Fort Smith also holds some value potential since it has been able to keep its Rural Development finance eligibility. That RD status also provides ammo for homebuilders like Ronald Ragon Homes to offer 0% downpayments on new home construction and keep the new building market active.

HOME SALES DATA (January through April)
Crawford County
Unit Sales
2015: 174
2014: 179

Sales Volume
2015: $19.833 million
2014: $19.361 million

Median Sales Price
2015: $107,500
2014: $93,400

Sebastian County
Unit Sales
2015: 423 
2014: 377

Sales Volume
2015: $60.919 million
2014: $48.726 million

Median Sales Price
2015: $117,250
2014: $116,000

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