Building permit numbers up almost 20% through April in Fort Smith metro

by Tina Alvey Dale ([email protected]) 652 views 

Building activity in Fort Smith declined in April and is down more than 9% year-to-date, but construction in the Fort Smith metro area is almost 20% above what it was in the first four months of 2021.

Fort Smith, Greenwood and Van Buren had a combined $22.019 million in building permit values in April, down 67.96% from $68.727 million issued by the cities in April 2021.

The biggest drop in construction came from Fort Smith with Greenwood and Van Buren showing an increase from last year. The region’s year-to-date total is $158.913 million, a 19.5% increase from the $133.026 million combined value of permits issued in the metro area’s largest cities from January through April 2021.

Fort Smith issued 213 permits in April with a value of $14.749 million, a drop of 40.7% from the $24.87 million value of 195 permits issued in March and a drop of 76.4% from the $62.47 million on 176 permits issued in April 2021. During the first four months of the year, Fort Smith has issued $105.001 million in building permits, down 9.14% from the $115.56 million issued through April 2021.

There were 14 permits issued for new residential construction in the month with a value of $3.068 million, up 3.58% from the $2.962 million value of 19 residential new construction permits issued in March and up 22% from the $2.514 million value of nine new residential construction permits issued in April 2021.

There were two new commercial construction permits in April with a value of $4 million, down 75.8% from the $16.53 million value of five new commercial projects in March and a 46.8% decrease from the $7.52 million value of three new commercial projects in April 2021. New commercial construction last month included a $2 million new convenience store, Jiffy Trip, at 8205 S. Zero St., and a $2 million new car wash at 6417 Rogers Ave.

VAN BUREN, GREENWOOD GAINS
The building scene was a brighter outside of Fort Smith. Van Buren, the region’s second largest city, issued 78 permits in April with a value of $5.38 million. While that was a 20.6% decrease from the $6.774 million value of 87 permits issued in March, it was an 8.2% increase from the $4.974 million value of 63 building permits issued in April of last year and continued Van Buren’s upward trend in 2022.

The gain this month was due to residential building activity. The monthly activity included $4.074 million in residential permits, more than 10 times greater than the $395,000 value of residential permits issued in March and 82.7% higher than the $2.23 million value of residential building projects in April 2021.

On the commercial side, there was $1.157 million in permitted activity, an 81.7% decrease from the $6.325 million value of commercial building projects last month and 56.2% lower than the $2.64 million value of commercial building projects in April 2021. Year to date, Van Buren has had $49.024 million in permitted activity, a 247% increase from the $14.114 million reported in through the first four months of 2021.

Greenwood once again had a month of growth. The city issued 14 permits with a combined value of $1.89 million in April, a 23.7% increase from the $1.527 million value of 15 permits issued in March and a 47.3% increase from the $1.28 million value of 20 permits issued in April 2021. A big portion of April’s building valuation came from a $950,000 welding, fabrication and machine shop being constructed by Mike McAlister at 2323 Industrial Drive.

Greenwood has total permit values so far in 2022 of $4.888 million, up 45% from the $3.352 million in building permits issued from January to April 2021.

The Fort Smith region ended 2021 with $343.289 million in permitted building activity, a 29% increase over the $265.975 million in 2020. The Fort Smith metro has seen continuous growth over the  past several years, but no recent year has performed as well in building activity as 2021 with all three of the larger cities in the region seeing an increase in building numbers from 2020.

REGIONAL BUILDING ACTIVITY RECAP
Combined total for the three cities
2021: $343.289 million
2020: $265.975 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