Fort Smith metro building activity down more than 10% through July

by Aric Mitchell (amitchell@talkbusiness.net) 180 views 

The Fort Smith metro’s July building permit values continued a downward trend that began in May. That’s when the region squandered a 36% gain through the previous month and fell to a gain of just 26.45% year-to-date. A steeper drop of 71.2% in the city of Fort Smith for June ($7.915 million in valuations vs. $27.487 million, June 2016) did the rest of the damage, and July’s performance did nothing to better the situation.

Fort Smith is cornerstone of the metro region, which also factors in Van Buren and Greenwood totals. However, as Arkansas’ second largest city, Fort Smith usually determines the outcome for better or worse. In July, the city’s permit values showed a month-to-month increase, posting $18.508 million on 178 permits against $17.393 million for June 2016. But at a gain of just 6.41%, it was not enough to compensate for the previous two months.

As a whole, the region reported $20.199 million in permit values for July, down 8.33% compared with July 2016’s $22.035 million. Overall performance is down 10.48% at $119.726 million against $133.743 million for the first seven months of 2016.

Commercial construction — new and remodels — dominated the month’s valuation, accounting for $13.957 million (over 75%) of the city’s total. In new construction, the St. Scholastica Monastery’s new building at 1315 South Albert Pike Ave. led the way on a $5.4 million permit. That was followed by builder and owner Bobby Goodwin’s Brick Road Town Homes ($2.8 million) and $1.08 million in ambulance and garage renovations at 3417 Duke Ave., the site of Fort Smith Emergency Medical Services.

VAN BUREN, GREENWOOD
In July, Van Buren slipped into the negative for the first time this year. The city’s $820,521 total on 50 projects was down 79% compared to $3.906 million in valuations for July 2016. This was largely because of the absence of two major permits that hit the books last year — a $1.1 million permit for RNR Tire Express at 2421 Fayetteville Road and a $1.706 million permit for Veterans Park. Year-to-date, the city has logged $10.113 million in permit values against $12.107 million for the first seven months of 2016, a drop of 16.47%.

Greenwood was the only one of the three cities to post gains for monthly and YTD periods. For July, the city logged $870,611 on two permits against $736,780 in July 2016, a gain of 18.16%. Year-to-date, Greenwood posted $9.27 million in valuations against $6.883 million for the same period last year, an increase of 34.68%.

REGIONAL BUILDING ACTIVITY RECAP
Combined total for the three cities
2016: $213.734 million (With 58.33% of the year complete, the 2017 YTD is at 56.02% 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 58.33% of the year complete, the 2017 YTD is at 53.47% 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 58.33% of the year complete, the 2017 YTD is at 65.98% 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 58.33% of the year complete, the 2017 YTD is at 86.39% of the 2016 total)
2015: $11.259 million
2014: $16.813 million
2013: $9.049 million
2012: $9.983 million

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