Building permit values up almost 39% in the Fort Smith metro

by Tina Alvey Dale ([email protected]) 1,018 views 

Fort Smith area building activity in 2020 continues to surpass 2019. Through August, permitted building activity in the region is up 38.5% over the first eight months of 2019.

Building permits issued in Fort Smith, Van Buren and Greenwood in August had a combined value of $21.85 million, a 23% increase from July’s combined $17.75 million. The region’s August total was a 22.29% decrease from the $28.12 million in permitted activity in August 2019.

Year to date, though, the region looks good. For the first eight months, there has been $188.71 million in permitted activity, a 38.47% increase from the $136.38 million during the same time period in 2019.

Fort Smith issued 175 permits in August with a value of $20.41 million, which comes in a little lower than August 2019. The month’s permit value is down 19.45% from the $25.34 million issued on 270 permits in 2019, but is an increase of 24.23% from the $16.43 million value of the 201 permits issued in July.

Year-to-date permitted activity in the city is $168.2 million, an increase of 41.9% over the $118.55 million issued in January through August 2019.

The city only issued one permit for new commercial construction in August – on construction valued at $600,000 at 6569 Rogers Ave. by GMX Real Estate Group. This was a 300% increase from the $150,000 issued on one new commercial construction project in July. However, there were $11.8 million in renovation permits to Fort Smith Public Schools for work on Darby Junior High ($7 million), Cook Elementary School ($3 million) and Woods Elementary School ($1.8 million).

Fort Smith voters in May 2018 approved a school millage increase, the first in 31 years, raising the millage rate in Fort Smith from 36.5 mills to 42 mills. The new rate is expected to raise $120.822 million, $35 million of which will go toward district-wide safety improvements.

On the residential side, the city issued $1.91 million in new construction projects, down 35.3% from the $2.95 million issued in July and down 71.89% from the $6.79 million issued on new residential construction in July 2020.

Van Buren, the region’s second largest city, rebounded in August, issuing 38 permits valued at $1.15 million, a 65% jump from the 71 permits valued at $693,750 in July. The total was a 34% decrease from the $1.74 million issued on 68 permits in August 2019. Van Buren’s total permit value for the month includes $129,000 in commercial construction and $1.02 million in residential construction. By comparison, the city issued $1.39 million in residential construction permits and $210,600 in commercial construction permits in August 2019.

Van Buren’s year-to-date total permitted activity is $14.65 million, an increase of 26.7% from the $11.56 million issued through August 2019.

Greenwood issued 27 permits valued at $286,364 in August, down 53.8% from $619,900 on 10 permits in July and down 72.2% from the $1.03 million on six permits in August 2019. Through August, Greenwood has issued $5.854 million in building permits, 5% decrease from the $6.171 million issued in the first eight months of 2019.

REGIONAL BUILDING ACTIVITY RECAP
Combined total for the three cities
2019: $238.752 million
2018: $231.780 million
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
2019: $204.008 million
2018: $187.678 million
2017: $169.958 million
2016: $185.783 million
2015: $191.631 million
2014: $174.252 million

Van Buren
2019: $27.731 million
2018: $37.946 million
2017: $19.665 million
2016: $15.327 million
2015: $16.009 million
2014: $7.918 million

Greenwood
2019: $7.013 million
2018: $6.156 million
2017: $15.23 million
2016: $10.235 million
2015: $11.259 million
2014: $16.813 million

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