Fort Smith metro building activity down more than 46% in March

by Aric Mitchell (amitchell@talkbusiness.net) 278 views 

The month of March was not a kind one to the Fort Smith metro region’s building sector as permitting activity dropped by more than 46% in its three primary cities — Fort Smith, Van Buren, and Greenwood.

The region finished February just 16% off year-to-date. With the third month’s anemic numbers, that percentage has slumped further to a 28% decline with $42.978 million in valuations against $59.697 million in the first quarter of 2017. For March, it was far worse with a combined three-city total of $12.321 million against $22.936 million during the same period last year, a 46.28% drop.

Fort Smith posted just $9.227 million on 190 permits for the 31-day period, a decline of 50.36% month-to-month when compared to last March’s $18.586 million. Most of the activity came on the residential side for a change, with single-family construction totaling $3.907 million and multi-family (apartments, duplexes) totaling $1.696 million for a combined tally of $5.603 million, or over 60% of the overall valuation.

Commercial activity came in at $3.314 million with just $450,000 considered new construction across two permits. The largest amount of commercial activity was for remodeling of existing businesses ($1.439 million across 11 permits). March commercial numbers felt the absence of Glatfelter, which filed over $7 million in remodels last year.

Year-to-date, the region’s largest city ended the quarter with $37.243 million in valuations against $51.248 million, a decline of 27.33% from the first quarter of last year.

VAN BUREN, GREENWOOD
Van Buren finished February of 2018 as the only positive for the Fort Smith metro region, having broken into the black by less than 1%. However, it fell back 12.81% over the last 31 with $1.681 million against March 2017’s $1.928 million. Residential activity for the region’s second largest city was off by about $429,000 in March. The previous year also benefitted from a $707,000 warehousing project from Five Rivers Distribution.

For the year, Van Buren is running behind by 6.24% with $3.215 million year-to-date against $3.429 million the previous year.

Greenwood has struggled to get anything going in the new year, and March was no exception as the city posted just $1.413 million in valuations against March 2017’s $2.422 million. The decline of 41.66% was due to not having the same level of residential activity as last year’s $2.173 million on 11 permits.

For the year, Greenwood fell by almost 50% with $2.52 million in valuations against $5.02 million in 2017.

REGIONAL BUILDING ACTIVITY RECAP
Combined total for the three cities
2017: $210.844 million
2016: $211.345 million
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
2017: $169.958 million
2016: $185.783 million
2015: $191.631 million
2014: $174.252 million
2013: $185.057 million
2012: $136.248 million

Van Buren
2017: $19.665 million
2016: $15.327 million
2015: $16.009 million
2014: $7.918 million
2013: $8.283 million
2012: $8.609 million

Greenwood
2017: $15.23 million
2016: $10.235 million
2015: $11.259 million
2014: $16.813 million
2013: $9.049 million
2012: $9.983 million

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