Realtors: Arkansas Homes in March Up 7 Percent

The Arkansas Realtors Association said Thursday that home sales in March rose 7 percent and the average price of those homes sold increased by 5 percent.

The association, which tracks home sales in a 43-county area, said 2,159 homes sold in March, up from 2,107. The complete report is available here (PDF).

Meanwhile, the average sale price increased to $154,478 from $146,920 in March 2012.

Among the top counties for home sales in March, Benton County led the way with 412 home sales, up about 28 percent from the same month last year.

Other counties and home sales looked like this:

  • Pulaski County with 342 home sales, up 2 percent.
  • Washington County with 191, down about 8 percent.
  • Saline County with 131, up 49 percent.
  • Faulkner County with 127, up 14 percent.

Benton County also led other counties for highest average prices of homes sold, at $182,500, up 9 percent from the same time last year. Craighead, Pulaski, Saline and Washington counties also had average prices of above $170,000 in March.

Rebound

The housing rebound has been particularly noticeable in northwest Arkansas, a region of the state most acutely felt the effects of the housing crisis.

Home values, home sales, listings and new construction for the first quarter of 2013 are up across the region from the same period in 2012.

Sales are up 12 percent compared with the first quarter of 2012 and 25 percent compared with 2011, according to information compiled by Paul Bynum of MountData.com. Building permits for the area’s four largest towns are also up from this time last year.

This continues a trend that began in the final half of last year, an improvement recently detailed in the Skyline Report, released by Arvest Bank and the Center for Business & Economic Research at the University of Arkansas’ Walton College of Business.

Nationally, U.S. sales of new homes rebounded in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 417,000. The increase added to evidence of a sustained housing recovery at the start of the spring buying season.

In its latest report released April 23, the Commerce Department said sales of new homes increased 1.5 percent. The gain brought the level higher than February's pace of 411,000, though below January's 445,000 — the fastest pace since July 2008.

The median price of a new home rose to $247,000 in March. That's 3 percent higher than a year ago.

New-home sales are still below the 700,000 pace considered healthy by most economists. But the pace has increased 18.5 percent from a year ago. And most economists see more gains ahead.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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