Fort Smith metro home sales down more than 10% through October

by Michael Tilley ([email protected]) 456 views 

The Fort Smith metro area had 3,309 homes sales in the January-October period, down 10.4% from 3,692 during the same period in 2021, a clear sign that rising interest rates pushed by the Federal Reserve to contain inflation has slowed the market.

The value of sales totaled $716.638 million, up 1.2% compared with the same period in 2021. The average home price for sales in the first 10 months was $216,572, better than the $191,787 in the same period of 2021, according to data provided by Ashlee Milton, an executive broker with Chuck Fawcett Realty in Fort Smith. Average days on market in the first 10 months was 64, below the 70 days in the same period of 2021.

Existing U.S. home sales fell 5.9% in October compared with October 2021, according to the National Association of Realtors. Freddie Mac reported that the average interest on 30-year fixed rate mortgages was 6.49% as of Dec. 1. The 30-year fixed rate has ranged between 3.05% and 7.08% in the past 52 weeks.

The rise in interest rates, almost double in most cases, has moderated the market, Milton said. Home sales in 2021 were up 10.6% over 2020, with 2020 home sales up 13.4% compared with 2019. 2021 marked a record of 4,400 home sales in the Fort Smith metro. Average home prices in Sebastian and Crawford counties topped $200,000 for the first time in 2021.

Those days for now are over, she said.

“Buyers desperately need to get very educated on the loan products available to them. I believe we will start to see more of the down payment assistance programs again as well as adjustable rate mortgages or points used to buy down the interest rate of the loan. Sellers can expect to get lowball offers again. This give and take on both parties’ sides will be necessary to find the balance we’ve been working toward,” Milton said, adding that sellers should no longer expect to get top dollar for their property.

She also said there is some hope the pace of interest rate rises will slow.

“Several lenders have expressed that the Fed is confident the interest rates will be lowered again by next summer. This is all speculation but it is encouraging for many buyers using programs that are reducing their interest rate for a specific amount of time,” Milton said.

Metro area data comes from Crawford, Franklin, Logan, Scott and Sebastian counties in Arkansas, and parts of eastern Oklahoma. About two-thirds of the home sales are from Crawford and Sebastian counties.

SEBASTIAN, CRAWFORD COUNTY SALES
Home sales in Sebastian County in the first 10 months was 1,524, down from 1,790 in the same period of 2021. Home sales in the county represent 46% of homes sold in the metro. The value of homes sold was $331.809 million, below the $362.116 million in the same period of 2021. The average home sales price was $217,722, up compared with the $202,300 in the first 10 months of 2021.

Home sales in Crawford County in the first 10 months was 641, below the 705 in the first 10 months of 2021. Home sales in the county represent 19.4% of homes sold in the metro. The value of homes sold was $141.07 million, above the $141.308 million in the same period of 2021. The average home sales price was $220,078, up from the $200,438 in the first 10 months of 2021.

MULTI-FAMILY, COMMERCIAL ACTIVITY
The metro area had 127 multi-family (apartment) sales in the first 10 months of 2022, above the 115 in the same period of 2021. The value of the sales was $57.424 million, well above the $37.781 million in the same period of last year. The average price of each deal was $452,159, above the $328,530 in the same period of 2021.

The largest multi-family deal in the first 10 months of 2022 was $4.794 million, well above the $2.66 million in the same period of 2021.

Fort Smith metro commercial property deals totaled 111 in the first 10 months of 2022, below the 123 in the same period in 2021. The value of the deals was $30.258 million, below the $43.281 million in the same period of 2021. The largest commercial deal in the metro was $1.85 million in the first half of 2022, well below the $6.194 million in the 2021 period.

METRO HOME SALES NUMBERS
• Fort Smith Region (Crawford, Franklin, Logan, Scott and Sebastian counties, and areas of eastern Oklahoma)
January-October 2022
Homes sold: 3,309
Value of home sales: $716.638 million
Average price: $216,572

January-October 2021
Homes sold: 3,692
Value of home sales: $708.076 million
Average price: $191,787

• Sebastian County
January-October 2022
Homes sold: 1,524
Value of home sales: $331.809 million
Average price: $217,722

January-October 2021
Homes sold: 1,790
Value of home sales: $362.116 million
Average price: $202,300

• Crawford County
January-October 2022
Homes sold: 641
Value of home sales: $141.07 million
Average price: $220,078

January-October 2021
Homes sold: 705
Value of home sales: $141.308 million
Average price: $200,438