Building permits down in May from April, up 21% through the year

by Tina Alvey Dale ([email protected]) 560 views 

Fort Smith building activity declined again in May, but construction in the metro remains higher than in 2021. Fort Smith, Greenwood and Van Buren had a combined $17.609 million in May building permit values, down 20% from $22.019 million in April but up 35% from $12.952 million in May 2021.

The region’s year-to-date total is $176.521 million, a 20.92% increase from the $145.978 million combined value of permits issued in the metro area’s largest cities in the first five months of 2021.

Fort Smith issued 568 permits in May with a value of $15.591 million, up 5.7% from $14.749 million with 213 permits issued in April and an 82.8% increase from the $8.53 million value of 151 permits issued in May 2021. From January through May of this year, Fort Smith has issued $120.59 million in building permits, down 2.82% from the $124.09 million issued in the first five months of 2021.

There were 18 permits issued for new residential construction in the month with a value of $2.62 million, down 14.6% from the $3.068 million value of 14 residential new construction permits issued last month but more than five times higher than the $508,300 value of the three new residential permits issued in May 2021.

There were four new commercial construction permits in May with a value of $1.85 million, down 53.75% from the $4 million value of two new commercial projects started in April. There were no new commercial construction projects started in Fort Smith in May 2021.

The new commercial construction last month was located in Chaffee Crossing and include a $700,000 three-unit lease space building called Liberty Point at 8300 Chad Colley Blvd.; a new $175,000 warehouse for Jonny Jones at 7707 Fort Chaffee Blvd.; a $450,000 office building at the HUB at 9111 R.A. Young Jr. Drive; and a $525,000 new shell building for ERC Holdings at 6230 Massard Drive.

VAN BUREN, GREENWOOD GAINS
Van Buren, the region’s second largest city, issued 81 permits in April with a combined value of $1.854 million, a 65.6% decrease from the $5.38 million value of 78 permits issued in April and a 33.3% decrease from the $2.78 million value of the 87 permits issued in May 2021.

The city issued 19 residential permits in May with a value of $1.027 million, a 74.8% drop from the $4.074 million value of residential permits issued in April and a 54% decrease from the $2.28 million value of residential permits issued in May 2021.

There was $575,800 in permitted commercial activity in the month, which was down 50.2% from the $1.157 million in permitted commercial construction in April but up $30,86 million from the $440,000 in permitted commercial construction in May 2021. Year to date, Van Buren has had $50.872 million in permitted activity, a 201% increase from the $16.894 million reported through May of 2021.

Greenwood’s strong months of building slowed in May with the city issuing 16 permits with a combined value of $162,765. This was a 91.4% drop from the $1.89 million value of 14 permits issued in April and a 90.1% decline from the $1.642 million value of 20 permits issued in May 2021.

Greenwood’s year-to-date total of $5.051 million remains 1.14% higher than the $4.994 million in permit values the city issued from January through May 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