Northwest Arkansas sees lowest mortgage activity since 2015

by Paul Gatling ([email protected]) 966 views 

According to Attom Data Solutions, mortgage originations in Northwest Arkansas were down 5.5% in the first quarter this year compared with the same time last year. The total marked the region’s lowest activity in more than eight years.

The California company, which tracks national housing and foreclosure data, issued its first-quarter mortgage report on June 5. It shows that lenders originated 2,745 mortgages secured by residential properties in the Northwest Arkansas Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) during January, February and March. That includes all three categories of conventional loans — purchasing (1,099), refinancing (1,066) and home equity (580).

According to the data, Northwest Arkansas originations hadn’t been that low since Q4 2015 (2,324). It came amid another period of rising mortgage interest rates and elevated home prices, on top of low supplies of homes for sale.

Northwest Arkansas’ Q1 mortgage activity is down 65% from a high point hit in Q4 2020.

Nationally, in the first quarter of 2024, 1.27 million mortgages were originated, down 4.8% compared with the same period a year earlier and a 6.8% decline compared with the fourth quarter of 2023. The drop-off marked the 11th in the last 12 quarters, to the lowest level since 2000.

Rob Barber, CEO at Attom, is hopeful for a turnaround in the second quarter. However, he cautions that without lower interest rates or more homes for sale, any increase will likely be limited.

There were 3,466 loan originations in central Arkansas during the first quarter of this year, a quarterly decrease of 10.5% and a 6.2% year-over-year decrease. There were 1,039 loans in the first quarter in the Fort Smith metro. That’s a 10% quarterly decline and a 1.5% decrease from a year ago.