Northwest Arkansas homes sales rise 13%, total volume jumps 26% in May

by Kim Souza ([email protected]) 355 views 

The housing market in Northwest Arkansas continues to sizzle as Realtors in May sold 912 homes in Benton and Washington counties. Unit sales were up 13% compared to 807 homes sold a year ago. Rising home prices also hoisted cumulative sales volume 26.2% higher in May compared to the same month in 2015.

Total sales volume into the two-county area increased to $196.427 million in May, compared to $155.614 million in the year-ago period, according to Eric Harris, agent with Weichert Downum Real Estate Group in Springdale. Harris said the market remains brisk in Northwest Arkansas. Many homes are under contract within days of listing and multiple offers are driving up pricing.

“Benton County buyers appear to be preferring newer construction in the above $500,000 price range as opposed to existing homes,” Harris said.

This upper level appetite for housing in Benton County is part of the reason sales continue to escalate this year. Average home prices in Benton County rose to $212,693 in May, up 9.17% from a year ago.

The most expensive home sold in May in Benton County sold for $960,000. It was a six bedroom, six bathroom, 7,361-square-foot home that originally listed for $1.19 million. The home was on the market for more than 26 months.

The median home price in Benton County was $184,900, up 15.5% from a year ago. Agents sold 582 homes in May in Benton County, up compared to 507 sold a year ago. Sales volume in Benton County rose to $129.025 million in May, up 30.6% year-over-year.

In Washington County there were 330 homes sold in May with a total value of $67.402 million, up compared to 300 sales worth $56.839 million in the same month last year. The gains in Washington County less than those in larger Benton County. Unit sales rose 10% while volume increased 18% from a year ago.

Washington County had one million dollar home sold in May. The 6,000-square-foot home had six bedrooms and six bathrooms. It sold for $1.125 million, with a list price of $1.15 million. The home was on the market for more than 3 years. The median sales price in Washington County rose to $175,000 in May, up 6% from a year ago.

Real estate agents across Northwest Arkansas have no complaints with how this year is going. Interest rates have stayed low and homes are selling faster and at higher prices through the first five months of the year. Harris said Realtors have sold 3,576 homes in the two-country area. The area homes sales to date are valued at more than $752.305 million.

Benton County continues to approach a half billion dollars in sales just five months into 2015, which is slightly ahead of last year’s pace. There were 2,250 homes sold in Benton County in the first five months of this year. Those sales were valued at $478.289 million, up 23% year over year.

Median home prices in Benton County were $176,050 through May, or $98.07 per square foot. Prices in Benton County are up 6.76% from the same period last year, according to data provided by Harris. Homes are selling faster with a median days on market of 84 through May, much better than the 102 days in the same period last year.

In Washington County agents sold 1,326 homes through May. Unit sales rose 13.2% over a year ago. Rising home prices in Washington County also helped to push the sales volume higher through May. Total sales through May had a value of $263.016 million, up almost 20% from a year ago.

A robust residential real estate market is good the local economy, according to Kathy Deck, director for the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Arkansas. She said the growing local population and rising regional per capita income are two reasons the housing market remains strong. She said it’s demand based which is healthy.

The National Association of Realtors estimates that one job is generated for every two home sales. Using that ratio, 1,000 home sales generate 500 jobs. For the Northwest Arkansas economies in Benton and Washington counties using that formula home sales would support 1,788 local jobs so far this year.

The NAR states that its housing impact ratio is derived from the economic impact from an existing home sale valued at $173,000. Using that scenario each home sale contributes about $60,000 to the economy or gross domestic product. In Benton County that’s on par with the $176,050 median home price this year. In Washington County where homes prices are slightly below the $173,000 range the economic impact would be slightly less than $60,000 per home sale.

NWA HOME SALES (January through May)
Benton County
Unit Sales
2016: 2,250
2015: 1,969

Sales Volume
2016: $478.289 million
2015: $388.387 million

Median Home Price
2016: $176,050
2015: $164,900

Washington County
Unit Sales
2016: 1,326
2015: 1,171

Sales Volume
2016: $263.016 million
2015: $219.294 million

Median Home Price
2016: $165,000
2015: $160,000