The Fort Smith metro area, which includes Fort Smith, Greenwood, and Van Buren, has finally turned a corner on building permits, but it took seven months and a devastating hailstorm to get there.
The city of Fort Smith has been playing catchup all year thanks to the absence of an equivalent to 2015’s $22 million Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine permit. In July, the overall permit value finally moved past last year’s year-to-date total on the back of a $17.361 million valuation across 1,011 overall permits. The total pushed the combined tri-city valuation to $115.946 million, up approximately 3.3% from the 2015 valuation of $112.092 million.
Without the influx of roof repair permits on the commercial and residential sides owing to the April 29 hailstorm, the numbers would continue to lag. Fort Smith reported 24 commercial roof repair permits totaling $1.202 million and an additional 815 roof repair permits on the residential side totaling $6.38 million for a combined $7.582 million on 839 permits.
The surge could continue through the end of the year, according to Fort Smith-based State Farm agent Arvid Bean. In July comments to Talk Business & Politics, Bean estimated that permits could continue for another “three to six months” as companies typically file for permits on the individual jobs as they go, after first conferring with a claims adjuster on the agreed-upon value.
Removing the roof repair permits from July’s totals, Fort Smith still would have seen a small gain at $9.779 million from July 2015’s $8.15 million. As is, last month’s year-to-year improvement finished at over a 113% gain. For the first seven months of 2016, Fort Smith posted a 3.8% gain compared to the same period last year, reaching $98.362 million from the previous total of $94.629 million.
VAN BUREN, GREENWOOD
Through July, Van Buren logged $11.304 million in permits, an increase of 13.6% from the $9.767 million valuation during the first seven months of 2015. Compared to July 2015, the last 30 days saw an increase of about 162% to $3.906 million from $1.49 million.
Business was bolstered mainly by $2.806 million in new construction permits for Veterans Park at Veterans Memorial Plaza, 901 Main St. The $1.706 million permit went to Crawford Construction Company for the purposes of a covered stage and awnings. A second permit at 2421 Fayetteville Road was issued to Beshears Construction for $1.1 million. The permit covers the new Aaron’s Rent-to-Own and R&R Tire Company buildings.
Greenwood was the only city in the Fort Smith metro to see a decline from 2015 with $6.28 million logged through July against $7.696 million in the first seven months of 2015. For the month, the $736,780 in valuations was a 21.69% decline from $940,780 in July 2015.
REGIONAL BUILDING ACTIVITY RECAP
Combined total for the three cities
2015: $225.78 million (With 58.33% of the year complete, the 2016 YTD is at 51.35% of the 2015 total.)
2014: $198.983 million
2013: $202.389 million
2012: $154.64 million
2011: $201.079 million
2010: $149 million
2009: $164 million
2015: $191.369 million (With 58.33% of the year complete, the 2016 YTD is at 51.4% of the 2015 total.)
2014: $174.252 million
2013: $185.057 million
2012: $136.248 million
2015: $20.708 million (With 58.33% of the year complete, the 2016 YTD is at 30.32% of the 2015 total.)
2014: $7.918 million
2013: $8.283 million
2012: $8.609 million
2015: $13.703 million (With 58.33% of the year complete, the 2016 YTD is at 82.49% of the 2015 total.)
2014: $16.813 million
2013: $9.049 million
2012: $9.983 million