One month does not make a trend, but a more than 21% gain in home sales during January in Arkansas’ four large markets continues the momentum of 2015 in which home sales were up almost 10% – with a December that had an almost 20% gain.
Home sales in Arkansas’ four largest markets totaled 1,484 in January, up 21.24% compared to January 2015 and up 18.3% compared to January 2014. All four markets posted double-digit growth in January, according to The Arkansas Home Sales Report.
The Arkansas Home Sales Report captures home sales data in the state’s 14 most populated counties within its four largest metro areas – Central Arkansas, the Fort Smith area, Jonesboro/Northeast Arkansas and Northwest Arkansas. The report, which records closed sales, accounts for between 70% and 75% of total Arkansas home sales. The report is produced by Talk Business & Politics and is sponsored by El Dorado-based Deltic Timber.
The January 2016 home sales were up 23.53% in central Arkansas, up 14.41% in the Fort Smith metro, up 19.05% in the Jonesboro metro and up 20.87% in Northwest Arkansas. Benton County in Northwest Arkansas and Pulaski County in central Arkansas are easily the state’s hottest markets. Of the 1,484 home sales in January, 655, or 44.1%, were in the two counties.
The average sales price in the four markets during January was $165,476, up 5,34% compared to January 2015 and up 14.52% compared to January 2014. The value of homes sold in the four markets was $245.566 million, up 27.72% compared to January 2015 and up 35.53% compared to January 2014.
The value of home sales was up 27.63% in central Arkansas ($104.23 million), up 35.6% in the Fort Smith metro ($19.158 million), up 29.05% in the Jonesboro metro ($19.587 million), and up 26.19% in Northwest Arkansas ($102.589 million).
Days on market in January averaged 91.97, better than the 103.95 in January 2015.
Michael Pakko, state economic forecaster at University of Arkansas at Little Rock, said January can be a good indicator for the state’s housing market.
“It’s hard to draw a lot of conclusions from January,” Pakko said, but “it’s been my observation that the year-over-year change in January has been a pretty good indicator of how the year is going to go.”
Pakko said Northwest Arkansas markets showed particular strength in January – a trend that held up in 2015 as sales improved impressively in that part of the state.
Pakko said he expects to see “not a booming expansion, but steady, positive growth” in housing markets around the state. He said there have been signs over the past year of more first-time homebuyers purchasing homes, too.
Pakko said the January report – coupled with positive unemployment numbers – points to an improving economy in Arkansas. On Friday, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that Arkansas’ unemployment rate was 4.2% in February – the lowest rate since September 2000.
THE REGIONAL PICTURE: January 2016
Central Arkansas — Home sales
January 2016: 672
January 2015: 544
January 2014: 611
Fort Smith area — Home sales
January 2016: 135
January 2015: 118
January 2014: 113
Jonesboro area — Home sales
January 2016: 150
January 2015: 126
January 2014: 127
Northwest Arkansas — Home sales
January 2016: 527
January 2015: 436
January 2014: 403
The top five counties in terms of January 2016 home sales:
Benton — 334, up compared to 257 in January 2015
Pulaski — 321, up compared to 239 in January 2015
Washington — 193, up compared to 179 in January 2015
Craighead — 122, up compared to 100 in January 2015
Saline — 105, up compared to 84 in January 2015
Link here for a PDF document of the January 2016 data.
THE 2015 PICTURE
Home sales in Arkansas’ four largest markets were up almost 10% in 2015, and marked five consecutive years of gains in the number of homes sold and four consecutive years of gains in the total value of the homes sold.
Home sales in Arkansas’ four largest markets totaled 24,125 in 2015, up 9.86% compared to 2014 and up 14.6% compared to 2013. The 2015 gains were driven by a a double-digit annual gain in Northwest Arkansas, according to The Arkansas Home Sales Report.
2015 home sales were up 8.66% in central Arkansas, up 6.22% in the Fort Smith metro, up 3.57% in the Jonesboro metro and up 14.7% in Northwest Arkansas.
The value of home sales was up 11.62% in central Arkansas ($1.832 billion), up 8.66% in the Fort Smith metro ($312.801 million), up 11.14% in the Jonesboro metro ($316.576 million), and up 13.55% in Northwest Arkansas ($1.573 billion).