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Central Arkansas housing market down in December, year

By: 19 January 2012 One Comment

In spite of five straight months of improving market conditions, homes sales in central Arkansas were down in December and for the year.

For the purposes of this report, central Arkansas includes five counties squarely in the Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway Metropolitan Statistical Area — Faulkner, Grant, Lonoke, Pulaski and Saline — as well as Jefferson and White counties which are not properly within that MSA. In those seven counties, there were 633 single-family, residential units sold in December — down 2.76 percent from 651 closed transactions in December 2010 and down 6.08 percent from 674 sales in the same month in 2009. In 2011, 8,436 homes were sold in central Arkansas — down 3.81 percent from 8,770 sales in 2010 and down 11.28 percent from 9,509 sales in 2009.

The average sales price last year was $165,666 in central Arkansas — down a bit from $166,763 in 2010 and up 2.03 percent from $162,371 in 2009. The value of the homes sold in 2011 was $1.34 billion — down 4.78 percent from $1.41 billion in 2010 and 10.16 percent down from $1.49 billion in 2009.

In short, there’s still room for improvement in central Arkansas markets. It’s worth mentioning that sales increased from July through November when compared to 2010 totals. Additionally, 2009 and 2010 totals are skewed a bit due to tax credits for home buyers that started in April 2008 and were available to both first-time and repeat buyers by the time they expired for all homes not under contract by the end of April last year. It stands to reason that sales fell after the expiration of the tax credits — when the government stopped paying first-time buyers up to $8,000 and repeat buyers up to $6,500 to purchase homes, the aftermath was predictable.

Moving forward in 2012, we see that mortgage rates started the year at record lows and fell further in the second week of the year. According to the national Mortgage Bankers Association, the average national rate on a 30-year, fixed interest mortgage was 4.11 percent on Jan. 6. A week later, that average fell to 4.06 percent. Time will tell how much low interest rates will influence potential buyers in 2012 and the same goes for falling average list prices.

Click here to have a look at the year-end report for central Arkansas. To see how housing markets fared in northwest Arkansas and the Jonesboro area last year, click here.

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

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