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Northwest Arkansas homes sales down in April

By: 18 May 2011 One Comment

After a three-month run of improved homes sales, the numbers in northwest Arkansas started to slip in February and that trend continued through April.

Last month, 562 new and existing homes were sold by Realtors in Benton, Carroll, Madison and Washington counties — down 16.49 percent from the 673 sales in the same month last year. The average sales price in April was $145,467 — down 7.55 percent from $157,530 a year ago. The average amount of time homes spent on the market before selling improved, however, in April — 148 days compared to 158 a year ago.

It is important to keep in mind that we’re not exactly comparing apples to apples here. There was a tax credit in place for first-time and repeat home buyers in April 2010 and all eligible home buyers were told to get homes under contract before May 1 and close on them before July 1 to claim the federal tax incentive.

Eric Harris, an agent with Weichert Realtors — Downum Group in Springdale, said the availability of the tax credit is largely responsible for the sales boost in 2010.

Harris

“The number of properties sold in the month of April 2011 as compared to 2010 was down due to the sudden rush to beat the expiring home buyer tax credits last year,” he said, adding numbers are still up for the first four months of 2011. “Oddly enough, though, the year to date sales are actually higher thanks to a strong first quarter with emphasis on January.”

Harris said he is hopeful that prices are starting to reach equilibrium.

“Although lower than last year, the average prices appear to be closer together indicating that the market is starting to stabilize,” he said. “I don’t expect to see any rapid recovery but maybe we are close to bottoming out on prices.”

Spring is well underway and Harris said warmer temperatures and favorable interest rates may well bring more buyers to the closing table, adding there are still some questions surrounding the economy.

“Mortgage rates are still great and with a beautiful spring ahead activity should increase,” he said. “The overall economic picture is still soft and that will definitely factor in on many home buyers’ decisions.”

Be sure to check back with us at First Arkansas News later this month as we’ll post the central Arkansas housing market report as soon as we receive the numbers from Cooperative Arkansas Realtors Multiple Listings Services (CARMLS).

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

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