January-August home sales up almost 17% in Northwest Arkansas

by Kim Souza ([email protected]) 150 views 

Real estate agents in Benton and Washington counties were busy in August, with unit sales up almost 17% and sales volume up almost 29%, according to data from Eric Harris, agent with Weichert Downum Real Estate in Springdale.

Unit sales totaled 949 homes in August, up 16.87% from the 812 homes sold in August 2015. Rising home prices pushed the sale volume to $209 million, up 28.89% from the $162.15 million reported a year ago. Harris said August home sales were stronger than July in both counties and on track for a record year. He said buyers still have to move fast on deals because of the high demand.

“Pick your lender wisely and make sure your documentation is clear because sellers have options in this market,” Harris added.

Harris reported 62% of the August sales were in Benton County as demand continues to grow for homes in Bentonville, helping to push prices in that area out-of-reach for some buyers. Benton County’s 590 home sales in August had an average sales price of $230,361, up 12% from a year ago. The median sales price rose to $184,900 in August, 6.6% higher year-over year, or a gain of more than $11,400. Homes are selling after an average of 76 days on the market, which is one week faster than the pace recorded last year.

In Washington County there were 359 homes sales in August valued at $73.232 million, compared to 303 sales worth $57.508 million a year ago. Unit sales rose 18.4% while sales volume jumped 27.3% from the same month in 2015. The average sales price in Washington County rose to $203,989, or $100.68 per square feet in August. Prices are up 21.7% on average year-over-year. The median sales price in August was $167,350, up 2.79% from a year ago. It took an average of 71 days for a listing to sell in August, down 82 days in the same month last year.

Tami Fagan, a real estate with Crye Leike Real Estate in Fayetteville, said she’s as busy as ever, and in the next two months plans to close $2.6 million in additional sales.

“This year has been wild, there is a lot of interest from buyers and homes are selling quickly,” Fagan said.

Mary and George Zeller of Bella Vista recently sold their 3,500 square foot home in Bella Vista for $255,000, which was $4,000 below list price of $259,000. The home sold in about one month. The property was valued at $206,000 in 2006. The retired couple relocated to a smaller townhouse in the same neighborhood near family and friends.

A three bedroom condo located in Kipling Courts near the Bella Vista Country Club sold for $239,000 in April 2013. Three years later the same property brought $280,900.

January-August home sales in the two counties totaled 6,513, up 16.86% compared to the same period in 2015.

Benton County real estate sales are getting closer to the $1 billion mark with 4,061 sales worth $896,814 million through the first eight months of this year. Unit sales are up 15.89% from the same period last year and sales volume increased 26.25% being pushed higher from rising home prices.

For the eight month period the average sales price was $220,836 in Benton County, well ahead of the $202,714 reported a year ago. Over the past two years the average home price is up 14.2% in Benton County. Buyers paid an average of $96.53 price per square foot during the eight month period, up from the $90 a year ago and $85.30 two years ago.

For a 1,600 square foot home the purchase cost would have been $136,480 in 2014, $144,000 in 2015 and $154,448 in 2016. The rapid increase in home prices favors sellers more than buyers in Benton County.

To illustrate how quickly home prices have recovered in some of the more depressed markets following the recession, Talk Business & Politics looked at county real estate records. A 1,728-square-foot home that sold for $125,000 in April 2012, sold for $183,000 in 2015, a 46% price increase over the three-year period. Prices are also escalating in Washington County. An 1,176 square-foot home near George Junior High in east Springdale sold as a foreclosure in July 2012 for $80,000.The home recently resold for $106,500, a gain of $26,500, or 33% over 4 years.

Washington County agents sold 2,452 homes through August for a combined value of $488.480 million. Unit sales are up 18.5% from a year ago while total sales volume jumped 22.9%. The median home price sold this year in Washington County is $165,000, or $97.12 per square foot. This compares to $163,000, or $94 per square foot a year ago. Two years ago the median sales price was $150,000.

The home price rise is leading to more house flipping. In Benton County there were 61 home flips recorded in the second quarter which was 4.3% of the total home sales, according to ATTOM Data Solutions parent company of RealtyTrac. The average flipping price for the quarter was $135,100 and the gross flipping profit was $26,100, according to the report.

The ATTOM report indicates that flipping nationwide is at a six-year high. Daren Blomquist, vice president of ATTOM Data Solutions, said the lending environment and low interest rates has made home flipping more accessible to small operators.

“We are starting to see home flipping hit some milestone not seen since prior to the financial crisis. There are some differences between now and then. Today more than two-thirds of investors are using cash to finance their deals, compared to about one-third prior to the crisis,” he said.

Blomquist said gross profit margins remain high at 48.8% nationally, but as home prices continue to rise that margin could become squeezed in some markets where flips are completed well above the median price range.

Washington County has less flipping activity with just five recorded flips in the second quarter. The average flipper lost $1,317 on the deal as the flipping price of $157,000 was slightly below the $159,317 median purchase price.

HOME SALES (January through August)
• Benton County
Unit Sales
2016: 4,061
2015: 3,504
2014: 3,102

Sales Volume
2016: $896.814 million
2015: $710.310 milion
2014: $599.349 million

Median Sales Price
2016: $167,350
2015: $163,000
2014: $150,000

• Washington County
Unit Sales
2016: 2,452
2015: 2,069
2014: 1,802

Sales Volume
2016: $488.480 million
2015: $397.392 million
2014: $325.705 million

Median Sales Price
2016: $165,000
2015: $163,000
2014: $150,000

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