NWA residential building starts dropped 40% in April

by Paul Gatling ([email protected]) 1,033 views 

Residential builders pulled 92 permits in Northwest Arkansas’ four largest cities in April. That represents a 40% drop from 153 permits in March.

The combined number of permits, according to data collected by the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal, is indicative of what may be expected in terms of activity as a result of the economic slowdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The health emergency started to become a major factor in the latter half of March.

Nearly half of the April permits originated in Fayetteville, where city officials issued 43 permits totaling $12.3 million. That’s up from 39 permits and $11.16 million in March.

April permits dropped sharply in Bentonville, Rogers and Springdale:

  • Bentonville: 15 permits, $6.3 million (April); 35 permits, $11.16 million (March).
  • Rogers: 19 permits, $5.3 million (April); 43 permits, $11.1 million (March).
  • Springdale: 15 permits, $3.7 million (April); 36 permits, $8.34 million (March).

For the year, residential building permits totaled 456 through April in the region’s four largest cities. That’s off 3.3% from 472 permits in the same period of 2019.

In Bella Vista, housing starts were largely flat in April with 31 permits totaling $7.8 million. March permits in the city totaled 32 permits worth $7.9 million.

Year-to-date numbers in Bella Vista are well ahead of 2019 totals. Through April, city officials issued 129 permits with a combined value of $32.4 million. That compares with 87 permits (up 48%) and $25.6 million in the same four months of 2019.

Nationally, permits for future home construction dropped 20.8% to a rate of 1.07 million units in April, according to the latest data from the U.S. Commerce Department.