Skyline Report: New Home Occupancy Up 60 Percent in Northwest Arkansas

by Mark Carter  on Wednesday, Mar. 19, 2014 10:17 am  

New home occupancy in northwest Arkansas was up 60.7 percent in the second half of 2013, according to the most recent Skyline Report from Arvest Bank, released Wednesday.

The Skyline Report is a bi-annual residential real estate analysis for the region provided by Arvest for the Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) in the Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas.

According to the latest report (PDF), 1,279 new houses in active subdivisions in Washington and Benton counties became occupied during the second half of 2013, up 60.7 percent from the 796 new houses that became occupied during the first half of the year.

"The balance between absorption of the existing houses in new subdivisions and the small increase in building permit activity across Benton and Washington counties is exactly right," UA economist Kathy Deck, lead researcher for the Skyline Report at CBER, said in a news release. "We are seeing the market move forward without undue concern with oversupply that we have seen in the past."

Also on the rise over the last half of 2013 compared to the same period of 2012 were residential building permits in Washington and Benton counties. The report found that the 1,094 permits issued in the last six months of 2013 increased by 11.4 percent over the same period of 2012 (982) although they experienced a 4.8 percent drop from the first half of 2013 (1,149).

Benton County accounted for 725 of the residential building permits over the last six months of 2013, while Washington County accounted for 369.

The report also found that the average value of all building permits in the region from July to December 2013 was $244,575, up 3.3 percent from $236,731 in the same time period of 2012, and up 4.7 percent from the average value of $233,539 reported from January to June 2013.

"It gives us great comfort that the level of new construction is appropriate to the level of growth we are seeing in the area," Deck said. "This shows us that we are sustaining reasonable growth."

Elsewhere in the report:

  • Sales of existing houses on the market were up in both Benton and Washington counties but the sold prices are mixed compared with the first half of the year. From July 1 to December 31, 2013, there were 3,407 houses sold in Benton and Washington counties, an increase of 14.3 percent from the 2,982 sold in the same time period of the previous year.
  • The average sold price of Benton County homes during the second half of 2013 was $183,983, down 0.8 percent from the average sold price of $185,500 during the first half of 2013. In Washington County, the average price of existing homes sold was $186,493, up 7.2 percent from the average sold price of $173,979 in the first half of 2013.
  • Home values, as measured by the average cost per square foot of existing homes sold at during the second half of 2013, decreased by 0.2 percent in Benton County to $82.29 from $82.43 during the first half. In Washington County, the average cost per square foot of existing homes sold in the second half of 2013 was $87.87, up 4.7 percent from the average cost per square foot of $83.94 reported during the first half.
  • A total of 28,336 lots were in the 393 active subdivisions identified by Skyline Report researchers in the second half of 2013. Of these lots, 10,162 were classified as empty, 216 were classified as starts, 727 were classified as being under construction, 193 were classified as complete but unoccupied, and 17,038 were classified as occupied. In 102 of the 393 active subdivisions, no new construction or progress in existing construction has occurred during the last year.

 

 

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