An almost 50% decline in Fort Smith area building permit values during July pushed the region into a year-to-date decline. The region could post its first annual decline in permit values since 2012 if building activity does not pick up in the remainder of 2015.
July permit values in Fort Smith, Greenwood and Van Buren totaled $10.589 million, down 49.5% compared to the $20.975 million in July 2014. The July 2014 numbers include the $9.764 million permit for the Parrot Island Waterpark now open at Ben Geren Regional Park.
The three cities issued permits valued at $105.156 million between January and July, down 1.92% compared to the $107.215 million during the same period in 2014. The three cities had $214.176 million in permit values in all of 2014, up over the $195.019 million in 2013.
The early 2015 numbers were pushed higher in March when a $22 million permit was issued in Fort Smith for construction of the Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine, located on 27 acres at Chaffee Crossing.
PERMIT VALUES DOWN IN FORT SMITH
Fort Smith issued 159 permits valued at $8.15 million during July, well below the $19.539 million in July 2014.
On the positive side, there were 11 new home starts in July with a total permit value of $4.398 million, better than the 12 new home starts at $3.098 million in July 2014.
Commercial construction took a relative dive in July, with only $1.894 million in commercial permit values and only $185,000 in new commercial construction. That’s compared to almost $15 million in commercial construction permit values during July 2014.
For the first seven months of 2015, the value of permits issued in Fort Smith total $94.629 million, down from $98.567 million during the same period in 2014.
UP IN GREENWOOD, DOWN IN VAN BUREN
Greenwood issued 11 permits valued at $940,780 during July, just above the $876,725 value in July 2014. The permit totals included three new housing starts at a combined value of $621,800, down from the four residential permits valued at $837,385 in July 2014.
For the first seven months of 2015, Greenwood permit values total $7.696 million, up 108% over the $3.695 million during the same period of 2014.
Van Buren officials issued $1.49 million in permits for 41 projects during July, better than the $559,100 in July 2014. Of the July total, $923,000 was for commercial work.
However, the city is well behind 2014 permit values. For the first seven months of 2015, permit values total $9.767 million, down from $17.139 million during the same period in 2014. A $4 million Legacy Heights addition and $3.567 million Van Buren police station were permitted in the first quarter of 2014, which results in the tough comparison.
2014 BUILDING ACTIVITY RECAP
Building permit value gains in Fort Smith and Van Buren helped push regional permit values up almost 6% in 2014 compared to 2013. Several taxpayer-funding projects – water park, police station and schools – helped boost the 2014 regional numbers.
For the year, Fort Smith permit values were up 6.61% and Van Buren permit values were up an impressive 85.7%. Greenwood had a 4.4% decline in permit values compared to 2013.
2014: $189.445 million
2013: $177.687 million
2012: $136.248 million
2014: $7.918 million
2013: $8.283 million
2012: $8.609 million
2014: $16.813 million
2013: $9.049 million
2012: $9.983 million
Combined total for the three cities
2014: $214.176 million
2013: $195.019 million
2012: $154.840 million
2011: $201.079 million
2010: $149 million
2009: $164 million