NWA home sales top $1.7 billion through first 10 months of 2016, up 23.5% from 2015

by Paul Gatling (pgatling@nwabj.com) 132 views 

Kim Minor, principal broker and owner of RE/MAX Real Estate Results in Bentonville, said historically, during a presidential election year, the housing market tends to slow a bit until the outcome is revealed. As evidenced by new home sales data in Northwest Arkansas, though, that wasn’t the case in 2016, as the market remained steady and strong.

Agents sold a combined 764 homes in Benton and Washington counties in October, up 5.2% from the same month in 2015. The combined sales volume rose 13.3%, from $141.5 million to $160.4 million.

In Benton County, home sales surged 19% from 439 in October last year to 523 this year. Total volume was up 27% from $88.5 million to $112.1 million.

Washington County data, however, showed a softer month, as agents recorded 241 sales in October, down 16% from 287 in the previous year. Total volume was also down slightly, from $52.9 million in October 2015 to $48.2 million this year.

Through the first 10 months this year in the two-county area, unit sales have risen a combined 15.5% year-over-year (7,108 to 8,210) and sales volume is up 23.5% ($1.41 billion to $1.74 billion) compared to 2015.

According to Eric Harris, an agent with Weichert, Realtors — Downum Group in Springdale who tracks the data, the local housing market still favors sellers.

“Buyers are still lining up to purchase a home,” he said. “The weather has been kind this year to the market as well.”

HOME PRICES
Median home prices in the market are also moving upward. In Benton County, the median home price this year has risen to $180,000, or $98.26 per square foot. That’s up from $163,500 and $91 per square foot year-over-year.

The rise in prices is not quite as extreme in Washington County, where the median home price as of Oct. 30 is $165,000, or $97.55 per square foot. That’s compared to $163,000 and $95 per square foot from the same date in 2015.

Doyle Yates, executive vice president of Fayetteville-based Coldwell Banker Harris McHaney Faucette, said the higher median price in Benton County is reflective of a higher median household income — $56,300 in Benton County, compared to $41,900 for Washington County.

“Higher income translates to higher demand for higher priced homes,” Yates said. “The continued growth of Walmart and the related vendor community has also added to the increased housing demand in Benton County.”

Yates noted the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville adds “greatly” to Washington County’s economic base, but the typical student, living off campus, “is not living in the size and price home of a mid-level manager for a Walmart vendor,” he said.

Yates, a vice chairman of the Arkansas Real Estate Commission, provided additional data to emphasize just how hot the real estate industry is in two-county market. He said the AREC has issued 1,060 new real estate licenses since Jan. 1 this year, and 325 of those (30%) have been activated with real estate companies in Northwest Arkansas.

“Of the roughly 7,200 licensed Realtors in Arkansas, 2,140 of them are licensed in Washington and Benton counties,” Yates said. That is also about 30% of the total.

THREE-YEAR COMPARISON
A three-year comparison of home sales in the two-county area underscores the region’s real estate growth. Year-to-date sales from January to October in Benton and Washington counties totaled 8,210 homes this year. That’s up 31.3% from 6,251 homes sold in the first 10 months of 2013.

In terms of sales volume, the two counties have combined for $1.74 billion in home sales this year, up a whopping 53.3% from sales of $1.13 billion in the first 10 months of 2013.

Because of the strong economic fundamentals in NWA, Minor anticipates the sustained growth trend to continue in 2017, despite some industry predictions.

“National forecasters have called for a slight dip in the housing market but due the local population and economic growth [in NWA] I foresee another good year,” she said.

HOME SALES DATA (January through October)
Benton County
Unit Sales
2016: 5,161
2015: 4,483
15.1%

Sales Volume
2016: $1.13 billion
2015: $909.94 million
24.8%

Median Sales Price
2016: $180,000
2015: $163,500
10.1%

Median price per square foot
2016: $98.26
2015: $91.00
7.9%

Washington County
Unit Sales
2016: 3,049
2015: 2,625
16.1%

Sales Volume
2016: $609.34 million
2015: $503.19 million
21.1%

Median Sales Price
2016: $165,000
2015: $163,000
1.2%

Median price per square foot
2016: $97.55
2015: $95.00
2.7%

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