August home sales in Arkansas’ four largest markets were off the pace of the previous three months, but sales for the first eight months of the year are up more than 8% and the value of those sales is up more than 13.5%. Homes are also selling faster in the four markets.
The healthy year-to-date pace in Arkansas is driven by an almost 14% gain in Northwest Arkansas home sales and a more than 6% gain in central Arkansas.
The 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.
Gains in the sector continue to bode well for homeowners. The average sales price in the four markets through the first eight months of 2015 is $173,281, up 5.09% over the same period in 2014 and up 2.59% over the same period in 2013.
A GOOD SUMMER
Dr. Michael Pakko, chief economist and state economic forecaster for the Institute for Economic Advancement at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, said August was not as strong as June or July in terms of homes sales, but the modest gains round off a good summer for the real estate industry.
Pakko said the summer months are almost always the strongest when it comes to home sales. He also said the home sales report stands as evidence that the overall Arkansas economy continues to improve. He said the economic recovery has been a long time in coming, but the past year to year-and-a-half have shown marked improvement.
"It was a long wait to see some positive signs of recovery," Pakko said of the recession that many economists said ended in June 2009. "We've seen a very sluggish recovery."
Pakko has also said job growth in the state is helping to support the gain in home sales.
Arkansas’ jobless rate fell to 5.4% in August thanks to a year-over-year gain of more than 43,000 jobs. Also, the number of unemployed declined by 4,825 in August compared to August 2014. The closely watched nonfarm payroll number was 1,214,800 million in August, better than the 1,213,100 million in July and up over the 1,188,000 million in August 2014. If the August number stands, will will mark a new high. August marks the third consecutive month that the nonfarm level set a new record. Prior to June, the record was 1,209,800 in July 2008.
The number of homes sold in the four markets in the January-August period totaled 15,840, up 8.04% from 14,661 in the same period of 2014, and up 12.07% compared to the same period in 2013. In the January-August period, home sales were up 6.28% in central Arkansas, up 2.18% in the Fort Smith metro, up 3.1% in the Jonesboro metro and up 13.64% in Northwest Arkansas.
The total value of January-August home sales in the four markets was $2.744 billion, up 13.54% compared to the same period in 2014 and up 14.97% compared to the 2013 period.
For the year-to-date period, the average sales price in the four large markets ranged from a high of $202,714 in Benton County to a low of $96,879 in Jefferson County.
The average days on market during the January-August period was 88.17, down from the 91.61 in the same period of 2014, and down from 89.09 days in the same period of 2013.
AUGUST MARKET ACTIVITY
August home sales in the four markets totaled 2,154, up 3.66% compared to August 2014, and down 2.58% compared to August 2013. January was the only month with a decline (down 2.55%) in 2015.
The average price per home in the four markets during August was $177,217, up 5.28% compared to August 2014, and up 2.1% compared to August 2013. The total value of sales in the four markets during August was $381.725 million, up 9.13% compared to August 2014 and down 0.54% compared to August 2013.
There were 960 homes sold in central Arkansas, up 5.26% compared to August 2014, and down 3.23% compared to August 2013. The value of home sales was $163.318 million, up 8.89% compared to August 2014.
August home sales totaled 812 in Northwest Arkansas, up 8.12% compared to August 2014, and down 0.61% compared to August 2013. The value of home sales was $162.153 million, up 10.43% compared to August 2014.
Jonesboro area home sales totaled 200, down 11.5% compared to August 2014 and down 8.08% compared to August 2013. The value of home sales was $31.48 million, up 7.52% compared to August 2014.
In the Fort Smith area, home sales totaled 182, down 3.7% compared to August 2014, and up 9.2% compared to August 2013. The value of home sales was $24.772 million, up 4.57% compared to August 2014.
THE REGIONAL PICTURE: January-August 2015
Central Arkansas — Home sales
Jan.-August 2015: 7,341
Jan.-August 2014: 6,907
Jan.-August 2013: 6,648
Fort Smith area — Home sales
Jan.-August 2015: 1,362
Jan.-August 2014: 1,333
Jan.-August 2013: 1,162
Jonesboro area — Home sales
Jan.-August 2015: 1,564
Jan.-August 2014: 1,517
Jan.-August 2013: 1,300
Northwest Arkansas — Home sales
Jan.-August 2015: 5,573
Jan.-August 2014: 4,904
Jan.-August 2013: 5,024
The top five counties in terms of January-August 2015 home sales:
Benton — 3,504, up compared to 3,102 in January-August 2014
Pulaski — 3,356, up compared to 3,207 in January-August 2014
Washington — 2,069, up compared to 1,802 in January-August 2014
Craighead — 1,282, up compared to 1,198 in January-August 2014
Saline — 1,246, up compared to 1,117 in January-August 2014
Link here for a PDF document of the August 2015 data.
THE 2014 PICTURE
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 homes 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.