The pace of building activity in the Fort Smith metro area during September may be lower than it was in September 2020, but the region is still ahead of where it was this time last year in terms of building permit values.
The area’s three biggest cities reported $19.88 million in building permit values in September, down 44.7% from the $35.95 million in September 2020 and down 55.3% from the $44.46 million in reported in August.
However, at the end of the third quarter, the region has reported a total permit value of $247.196 million, 9.4% higher than the $225.92 million reported through the end of September in 2020. The value is also on track to beat the record set in 2020. The three cities ended 2020 with $264.757 million in permitted building activity, a 9.5% increase over the $241.741 million in 2019. The gain came mostly from Fort Smith, as Van Buren and Greenwood showed drops in their building numbers from 2019.
Fort Smith issued 160 permits in September with a value of $16.01 million, a 61% drop from the $41.09 million value of the 187 permits issued in August and a 52.4% decrease from the $33.63 million value of 171 permits issued in September 2020. Still, Fort Smith’s year to date total through the first quarter is $214.64 million, 6.3% higher than the $201.84 million reported through September 2020.
There were nine permits issued for residential new construction in the month with a combined value of $2.895 million. That is an 86.8% increase from the $1.55 million combined value of four permits issued in August and a 28.7% increase from the $2.25 million value of 10 new residential construction permits issued in September 2020.
The city issued two new commercial construction permits last month with a value of $5.3 million – $1.3 million for a new Chambers Bank at 8400 Rogers Ave. and a $4 million project for Owens Corning at 5400 Excelsior Drive. Toledo, Ohio-based Owens Corning announced in February construction of a new 550,000-square-foot manufacturing plant in Fort Smith that will replace the existing plant the company built in 1984. The estimated $115 million project is expected to add five jobs. The city issued a building permit for a $3 million project at the site in July and a permit for a $12 million project at the site in August.
The new commercial projects’ value was 75.6% lower than the $21.73 million value of the four new construction projects permitted in August and 75.5% lower than $21.657 million on four projects permitted in September 2020.
VAN BUREN, GREENWOOD PROJECTS
Van Buren and Greenwood fared a little better during the month. Van Buren, the region’s second largest city, issued 88 permits in September with a value of $2.586 million, a 0.15% decrease from the $2.59 million value of 99 permits issued in August and a 60.62% increase from the $1.61 million value of 70 permits issued in September 2020.
The monthly activity included $1.745 million in residential building, a decrease of 29.6% from the $2.48 million in residential construction in August and an 8.4% increase from the residential construction valuation in September 2020. Van Buren’s total permit valuation came from 14 residential construction permits in September 2020.
Van Buren also had $319,000 in commercial construction in September. There were no permits issued for commercial construction in August or September 2020. Van Buren’s permit totals through the first nine months of the year were $24.106 million, an increase of 37.6% over the $17.52 million in the first three quarters of 2020.
Greenwood issued 20 permits in September with a value of $1.284 million, a 61.7% increase from the $793,835 value of 19 permits issued in August and an 81.96% increase over the $705,652 value of 28 permits issued in September 2020. The city’s value of permitted activity through September is $8.45 million, a 28.8% increase from the $6.56 million through the first three quarters of 2020.
REGIONAL BUILDING ACTIVITY RECAP
Combined total for the three cities
2020: $264.757 million
2019: $241.741 million
2018: $231.78 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