Fort Smith home sales market falls in September, but positive trends continue

by Aric Mitchell (aric.mitchell@gmail.com) 91 views 

On the heels of a down month in building activity, the Fort Smith home sales market’s September performance dipped by more than 22% compared to September 2016 with sales volume for the region — consisting of Sebastian and Crawford counties — falling to $25.743 million from $33.164 million last year, a decline of 22.38%.

But according to Chris Welk, realtor at Weichert Realtors-King Realty Group, it’s not time to hit the panic button.

Welk told Talk Business & Politics that while the last 30 have been soft, “the year to date still shows strength with DOM (days on market) down and average sales prices increasing.” In other words, homes are selling quicker and at higher prices than the previous year even if there aren’t as many closings.

The data demonstrates this with September in Sebastian County seeing a 29.69% drop in DOM to 90 days from 128. Year-to-date, the decline in time that it takes for a home to sell went to 106 days from a 2016 average of 134 days (a drop of 20.9%). Meanwhile, the average sale price of a Sebastian home remains ahead at $154,172 compared to $147,700 through the first nine months of last year (a 4.38% increase).

Similarly, Crawford County saw DOM numbers drop to 61 days from 66 for September and 111 from 136 days year-to-date — declines of 7.58% and 18.38%, respectively. The average sale price also fared well for the month and the year with current month averages holding at $134,498, up 1.78% from September 2016’s $132,146. For the year, Crawford homes are selling at $129,455 on average compared to $127,110 for the first nine months of 2016, a 1.84% increase.

The positive trend Welk notes is proven in combined year-to-date sales volume. While 22% is a steep number to be off for a 30-day period, overall valuations through September finished at $251.846 million, up 5.99% from $237.619 million in 2016. Combined units sold were up as well despite the soft September with 1,719 sales year-to-date compared to 1,676 in 2016, an increase of 2.57%. For the month, the tally fell to 176 from 222 in September 2016, a drop of 20.72% which is in line with the month’s lesser valuations.

Individually, both counties were up in sales for the year with Sebastian posting larger numbers and smaller rate increases at $182.847 million against $176.353 million last year, an increase of 3.68%. Crawford grossed $68.999 million against $61.266 million, a jump of 12.62%. That said, both counties took a hit in September with Sebastian’s $17.54 million against $24.443 million being off 28.2% and Crawford’s $8.203 million against $8.721 million representing a decline of 5.94%.

BY THE NUMBERS (Jan.-Sept. for 2017; full year numbers for 2016, 2015)
• Crawford County
Unit Sales
2017: 533
2016: 670
2015: 606

Sales Volume
2017: $68.999 million
2016: $83.984 million
2015: $72.808 million

Average Sales Price
2017: $129,455
2016: $125,350
2015: $120,145

• Sebastian County
Unit Sales
2017: 1,186
2016: 1,557
2015: 1,459

Sales Volume
2017: $182.847 million
2016: $230.803 million
2015: $204.894 million

Average Sales Price
2017: $154,172
2016: $148,236
2015: $140,435

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