Fort Smith metro building activity continues decline, down more than 10% year-to-date

by Aric Mitchell (aric.mitchell@gmail.com) 278 views 

A relatively inactive June pushed Fort Smith metro building permit values down compared to 2016. While Van Buren and Greenwood continued to perform above expectations, Fort Smith faltered with a 71.2% drop month-to-month, moving the city — and region — into the red for the first time in 2017.

The weak performance began in May when the region squandered a 36% gain at the end of April and fell to a gain of just 26.45% year-to-date. For the last 30 days, Fort Smith — Arkansas’ second largest city and the cornerstone of the metro region — posted only $7.915 million in valuations on 190 permits. This was down from a value of $27.487 million for June 2016, leaving the city with $81.835 million YTD compared to $97.36 million for the first six months of 2016, a 15.95% drop.

The soft numbers resulted in a 36.45% swing, blotting out the year’s aforementioned gain and leaving the region as a whole with $99.528 million against $111.708 million for the first six months of 2016 — a decline of 10.9%.

A June-to-June comparison tells much of the story with June 2016 witnessing heavy repair activity, stemming from a hailstorm on April 29 of that year. Approximately $13.516 million of the overall value was attributed to “repair” and “roof repair.” Still, removing those numbers from the mix results in a more active month with $13.971 million — almost twice June 2017’s overall activity — attributed to other factors, such as remodeling and new construction. Most activity for the last 30 days came from the residential side with $3.9 million in valuations on 134 permits compared to $3.537 million in commercial valuations on 29 permits.

VAN BUREN, GREENWOOD
Van Buren stayed above 2016’s year-to-date performance, in spite of a 2.33% drop from June of last year. The city logged $1.175 million on 56 projects for the month against the previous June’s $1.203 million. The tally was mostly residential with $680,900 of the value falling on the single-family residential side and $240,000 on multi-family/duplex. For the first six months of 2017, the city has logged $9.293 million in valuations against $8.201 million in 2016, a gain of 13.3%.

Greenwood was the only one of the three cities to post gains for 30-day and YTD periods. For June, the city logged $1.998 million on 14 permits against $784,125 in June 2016, a gain of 154.81%. Most of this was for a single $1.314 million permit for the construction of the new McDonald’s at 923 W. Center St., to replace the old site, which was demolished at the start of the month. McDonald’s “moves fast” on their construction, according to Don Oliver with the city’s office of planning and development.

Oliver told Talk Business & Politics the new site will be finished “in 100 days.” For the first six months of 2017, Greenwood posted $8.4 million in valuations against $6.147 million for the same period last year, a gain of 36.65%.

REGIONAL BUILDING ACTIVITY RECAP
Combined total for the three cities
2016: $213.734 million (With 50% of the year complete, the 2017 YTD is at 46.57% of the 2016 total)
2015: $218.899 million
2014: $198.983 million
2013: $202.389 million
2012: $154.64 million
2011: $201.079 million
2010: $149 million
2009: $164 million

Fort Smith
2016: $187.675 million (With 50% of the year complete, the 2017 YTD is at 43.6% of the 2016 total)
2015: $191.631 million
2014: $174.252 million
2013: $185.057 million
2012: $136.248 million

Van Buren
2016: $15.328 million (With 50% of the year complete, the 2017 YTD is at 60.63% of the 2016 total)
2015: $16.009 million
2014: $7.918 million
2013: $8.283 million
2012: $8.609 million

Greenwood
2016: $10.731 million (With 50% of the year complete, the 2017 YTD is at 78.28% of the 2016 total)
2015: $11.259 million
2014: $16.813 million
2013: $9.049 million
2012: $9.983 million

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