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Central Arkansas housing markets in flux during first quarter

By: 4 May 2011 2 Comments

Here’s a newsflash — housing markets throughout central Arkansas were still in recovery mode in the first quarter of 2011.

Realtors sold 1,432 homes in Faulkner, Grant, Lonoke, Pulaski and Saline counties in the first quarter — down 8.91 percent from 1,572 sales in the first three months of 2010 and down 4.91 percent from 1,506 sales in the same period in 2009. The average sales price in the quarter was $163,287 in the first quarter, up slightly from $163,121 in the first three months of 2010. Sales prices were up in Lonoke and Pulaski counties in the first quarter and down everywhere else. Prices were up considerably — 6.5 percent — from an average of of $159,709 in the first quarter of 2009.

For a complete housing market report covering central Arkansas sales in March and for the year, click here to open the PDF.

When analyzing the 2011 numbers, it’s important to remember that the comparisons are skewed by the absence of a tax credit of up to $8,000 for first-time home buyers and up to $6,500 for existing buyers. Tax credits were first introduced in April 2008 and the last of them expired in April last year.

Eligible home buyers were initially directed to get homes under contract before May 1 last year and close on those transactions before July 1 in order to take advantage of the tax breaks. Since we’re looking at the number of closed sales, that means we’ll not be able to compare apples-to-apples — markets in which credits weren’t a factor — until the end of the second quarter.

Eric Harris, an agent with Weichert Realtors — Downum Group in Springdale, said a “buyers’ market” was in place in northwest Arkansas when he reviewed the March report from that part of the state that was posted last week here at First Arkansas News. It seems the same type of market is the norm in central Arkansas, too.

Sellers realized 95.02 percent of their listing prices when their homes were sold in the first quarter, down from a sales-to-list ratio of 95.38 percent in the first three months of 2010 and down from 95.99 percent in 2009. That ratio deteriorated in March to 94.92 percent.

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

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