The number of homes sold in Arkansas’ four large markets totaled 5,118 in the first quarter of 2016, just below the pre-recession 2007 high when 5,126 homes were sold. However, the value of homes sold set a new first quarter high.
The combined value of homes sold in the first quarter was $866.593 million, up 12.76% compared to the same period in 2015 and up 31.18% compared to the same period in 2014, according to the Arkansas Home Sales Report. The previous high was $809.897 million set in the first quarter of 2007.
Unit sales were up 10.33% in the quarter compared to the first quarter of 2015.
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. The report is produced by Talk Business & Politics and is sponsored by El Dorado-based Deltic Timber.
Home sales in Arkansas’ four largest markets totaled 2,103 in March, up 9.13% compared to March 2015 and up 26.46% compared to March 2014. The value of combined March home sales in the four markets was $368.604 million, up 12.68% compared to March 2015 and up 40% against March 2014. The average home price in March in the four markets was $175,275, up 3.25% compared to March 2015.
The January-March 2016 home sales were up 7.02% in central Arkansas, up 8.75% in the Fort Smith metro, up 4.75% in the Jonesboro metro and up 16.85% in Northwest Arkansas. Benton County in Northwest Arkansas and Pulaski County in central Arkansas are the state’s busiest in terms of home sales. Of the 5,118 home sales in the first quarter, 2,272, or 44.39%, were in the two counties.
The value of home sales for the first quarter was up 6.88% in central Arkansas ($370.203 million), up 10.82% in the Fort Smith metro ($60.769 million), up 14.12% in the Jonesboro metro ($69.721 million), and up 19.48% in Northwest Arkansas ($365.899 million).
Days on market in January-March averaged 90.59, better than the 106.92 in January-March 2015.
Stephen Brooks, an agent with Keller Williams in Fayetteville, described the markets in both counties as “very active.” He’s put multiple homes under contract this year that have sold within one week at their full asking price in Bentonville and Fayetteville. He said average sales prices are going up at the same time the days-on-market are going down, which is an indication a market is heating up.
Brooks said the year is off to a crazy start and he’s waiting to see how the summer rolls through before making any predictions on full-year growth. He said new construction is up in Northwest Arkansas and with more new development on tap that should help ease some of the demand overload in the coming months.
Interest rates, often cited as a key driver in home sales, are expected to remain low. Kiplinger economists expect interest rates to remain at very low levels for the near-term, with the 10-year Treasury note yielding less than 2%. The jury is still out on whether the Federal Reserve will enforce a small rate hike at its June meeting. Kiplinger analysts think they will, while Wells Fargo economists say it’s unlikely. Both agree if there is a rate hike in June it will be last one until after the election in November.
By the end of this year, Kiplinger expects the 10-year Treasury bond rate will rise to 2.4% from the 1.8% level now and 30-year mortgages rates will increase to 4.2% from 3.7% at this time.
THE REGIONAL PICTURE: January-March 2016
Central Arkansas — Home sales
Jan.-March 2016: 2,286
Jan.-March 2015: 2,136
Jan.-March 2014: 2,028
Fort Smith area — Home sales
Jan.-March 2016: 460
Jan.-March 2015: 423
Jan.-March 2014: 392
Jonesboro area — Home sales
Jan.-March 2016: 507
Jan.-March 2015: 484
Jan.-March 2014: 447
Northwest Arkansas — Home sales
Jan.-March 2016: 1,865
Jan.-March 2015: 1,596
Jan.-March 2014: 1,435
The top five counties in terms of January-March 2016 home sales:
Benton — 1,171, up compared to 976 in January-March 2015
Pulaski — 1,101, up compared to 967 in January-March 2015
Washington — 694, up compared to 620 in January-March 2015
Craighead — 406, up compared to 395 in January-March 2015
Saline — 368, up compared to 353 in January-March 2015
Link here for a PDF document of the March 2016 data.
THE 2015 PICTURE
Home sales in Arkansas’ four largest markets were up almost 10% in 2015, and marked five consecutive years of gains in the number of homes sold and four consecutive years of gains in the total value of the homes sold.
Home sales in Arkansas’ four largest markets totaled 24,125 in 2015, up 9.86% compared to 2014 and up 14.6% compared to 2013. The 2015 gains were driven by a a double-digit annual gain in Northwest Arkansas, according to The Arkansas Home Sales Report.
2015 home sales were up 8.66% in central Arkansas, up 6.22% in the Fort Smith metro, up 3.57% in the Jonesboro metro and up 14.7% in Northwest Arkansas.
The value of home sales was up 11.62% in central Arkansas ($1.832 billion), up 8.66% in the Fort Smith metro ($312.801 million), up 11.14% in the Jonesboro metro ($316.576 million), and up 13.55% in Northwest Arkansas ($1.573 billion).