The average price of each home sale in Northwest Arkansas continues to skyrocket.
Benton County’s average home sale price through the first nine months of 2022 reached $401,950. That’s up 16.3% from $345,463 through September last year. Washington County’s average home sale price through September was $361,971, up 15.8% year-over-year from $312,467.
That’s according to data from the Matrix software platform used by the Northwest Arkansas Board of Realtors (NABOR) and provided to the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal by Marcus Necessary, vice president and executive broker with Weichert, Realtors-The Griffin Co.
Meanwhile, as mortgage rates continue rising, year-to-date home sales through the third quarter in Northwest Arkansas’ two most populous counties are down from last year’s period.
There were 8,658 homes sold through September this year in Benton and Washington counties, down 4.3% from 9,051 homes sold through the third quarter last year.
Mortgage rates are the obvious culprit. Mortgage News Daily reports that a 30-year fixed rate began the year at 3.3% but ended the third quarter at 6.7%. Higher mortgage payments make it harder for buyers to qualify for loans. The average rate is now north of 7%.
The combined sales volume this year through September is up 17.1% — $3.35 billion in the first nine months, compared with $2.86 billion in the first nine months of 2021.
In the two-county area combined, September home sales were down nearly 13%, from 1,136 last year to 992 this year.
The NABOR data showed 641 home sales worth a combined $253 million in September in Benton County. That compares with 744 and $257 million in the same month a year ago.
In Washington County, agents sold 351 homes in September, down from 392 in September 2021, with a combined value of $131.1 million, up from $122.4 million.
From a national perspective, Lawrence Yun, National Association of Realtors chief economist, said in a Sept. 28 report that the direction of mortgage rates – upward or downward – is the prime mover for home buying, and decade-high rates have deeply cut into contract signings.
“If mortgage rates moderate and the economy continues adding jobs, then home buying should also stabilize,” Yun said.
Yun expects the economy will remain sluggish throughout the remainder of this year.
“Only when inflation calms down will we see mortgage rates begin to steady,” he said.