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Real estate market ‘soft’ in northwest Arkansas

By: 16 December 2010 One Comment

Click to expand in new tab...The real estate market in northwest Arkansas was still suffering from a tax credit hangover in November as sales dropped 41.9 percent compared to the same month a year ago. Through November, sales were down 9.8 percent in northwest Arkansas for the year.

A smallish graph showing November’s numbers is listed above, but do yourself a favor and grab a larger report — click that headache-inducing graphic for a larger one, click here for the Excel version of the November housing market report for northwest Arkansas or here for the PDF. The report covers sales involving Realtors of new and existing homes, single-family residences in Benton, Carroll, Madison and Washington counties.

Eric Harris, an agent with Weichert Realtors — Downum Group in Springdale, summed up the area market after taking a look at the November report.

Eric Harris

“Housing sales remain soft in northwest Arkansas,” he said. “November sales slipped from last year however the average selling price jumped $10,000. Average days on market also remained above 150.

“Compared to last year total number of units sold dropped by around 10 percent. Home ownership is still the American dream and home prices and mortgage rates are still at all time lows.”

It’s also worth mentioning that the average size of a home sold in northwest Arkansas increased in November to 2,075 square feet from 1,993 square feet. Furthermore, sellers did receive close to what they wanted in November, receiving on average 94.84 percent of their asking prices at closing.

Harris said sales fell off noticeably after the first six months of the year, due in a large part to the expiration of the last round of the home buyer tax credits that had been in place in one form or another since April 2008. Under the final credit, first-time buyers could receive up to $8,000 in cash from the federal government for purchasing a home while repeat buyers were eligible for up to $6,500.

Buyers were directed to get homes under contract before May 1 and close on them before July 1. Although that deadline to close was extended to the end of September, most buyers closed prior to July 1.

Harris pointed out that Interest rates are still attractive to buyers. According to the national Mortgage Bankers Association, the average rate on a 30-year, fixed interest mortgage was 4.84 percent on Dec. 10. People taking out 15-year, fixed interest mortgages took advantage of a 4.21 percent rate on average.

Stay tuned — the central Arkansas housing market report will be posted in a week or so.

About: Ethan C. Nobles:
Benton resident. Rogue journalist. Recovering attorney. Email =

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