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Homes sales down in central, northwest Arkansas

By: 19 July 2011 No Comment

The June numbers from central and northwest Arkansas are in and they are pretty much as expected — sales for the month were down in those two areas of the state.

In a nutshell, the number of homes sold in 2011 was down in June and through June in central and northwest Arkansas. Homes stayed on the market longer before buyers purchased them, but those sellers who priced their homes well realized at least 95 percent of their sales prices on average. Still, the market has pretty well performed as expected in 2011. We’ll get to the reasons why in just a minute, but first have a look at the reports for yourself by clicking here for the central Arkansas housing market report and here for the northwest Arkansas one.

Whywas the June support not surprising? We’re still comparing against the era of tax credits for first-time and repeat home buyers. Bear in mind that the reports for the first half of 2011 reflect closed sales — buyers were told last year to get homes under contract by the end of April and then close on them before July 1. While that July 1 deadline was extended to Sept. 1, most buyers did close on their homes prior to the original cutoff date.

The tax credit was substantial and, naturally, influenced sales while it was in play. The credit was put in place in April 2008 and then extended and enlarged until — in its final form — it gave up to $8,000 to qualified first-time buyers and up to $6,500 to repeat buyers.

Obviously, when the government stopped paying people to buy houses, fewer buyers showed interest in purchasing homes.

Here’s another thing about June’s numbers. Since they do represent closed sales, they reflect contracts that were entered into in April and May. Bear in mind that Arkansas was hammered with extensive flooding at the end of April and Realtors have said the rotten weather kept people from shopping for homes during that time. That could have also been a factor in housing markets.

Eric Harris

Harris

Of course, we’ll have a better idea of how the market is faring when July’s numbers come in and we’re not comparing against “tax credit” months.

Eric Harris, an agent with Weichert Realtors — Downum Group, said one wrinkle in the June report has to do with increased sales prices and average square footage in northwest Arkansas.

“Year over year the pricing for sold homes in Northwest Arkansas dropped nearly $6 a square foot,” he said. “While days on market remained relatively the same, the overall homes sold in the month of June dropped.

“On an interesting note the selling price per square foot in June 2011 was actually higher as was the square footage when you compare it to the month of June last year. It is still a strong buyer’s market and a great time to buy a home. If you’re a seller the only thing we can say is that while you will lose value in selling you should be able to gain value on the buying side.”

While the decreased sales in June are no surprise, having a look at the July report will be fascinating. How will markets compare against the first month when the tax credit wasn’t a major factor? Stay tuned.

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

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