Sales of luxury homes in Pulaski County shattered records in 2021, resulting in Arkansas Business changing the way it tracks million-dollar home sales.
Arkansas Business increased the floor price of the homes it follows from $1 million to $1.25 million because 67 homes sold for $1 million or more in 2021. In 2020, 47 homes sold for $1 million or more, up from 34 homes that sold for seven figures in 2019.
In 2012, the low point in our survey, just 13 million-dollar homes sold.
“We are in a historic market that began to surge during the pandemic,” Jon Underhill, who sells upscale homes through his own agency in Little Rock, said via email to Arkansas Business. “Homes valued at $1 million, or more, are a lot more common. Due to rising incomes and historically low borrowing cost, the number of people who can afford a million-dollar home has increased.”
Last year, 32 homes sold for $1.25 million or more.
Underhill projects the “red-hot” housing market will continue this year. Homes have sold within hours of being listed and “frequently for well over the asking price,” he said.
In this market, homebuyers have no qualms about going above the listing price. “High demand and low inventory create a very competitive market where buyers sometimes find themselves in a bidding war,” Underhill said. “A higher offer may be the only way to stand out and secure the home.”
Another factor that could be driving the housing market is that people from out of state are moving to Arkansas, said Sarah Bailey, owner and principal broker of Pixel Properties Realty of Little Rock, a real estate agency. “We have had quite a few out-of-state clients,” she said. (Bailey also bought a house that appears on this year’s list of most expensive homes purchased in Pulaski County.)
Underhill said that some of the key features that people are asking for in an upscale home are location, followed by a floor plan that works for their family.
“Amenities that high-end buyers are seeking include high-end kitchens, spa bathrooms, pool and outdoor kitchens with entertainment areas,” he said.
Energy-efficient homes have been a bonus for some buyers, but that emphasis hasn’t been a deciding factor for Underhill’s higher-end clients.
Luxury homes are selling quickly. Last year, the average number of days that a seven-figure home was on the market was 42.
Underhill said that last week there were 23 homes listed for sale at or above $1 million in Pulaski County. “However, I always have a list of higher-end homes that sellers are not quite ready to actually list, but are willing to sell,” he said.
For this list, Arkansas Business used interviews, public real estate records and other documents to briefly describe the 10 most expensive Pulaski County homes sold in 2021 and their buyers.
1. $2.8 Million
Buyers: Curtis and Regina Howse
Seller: Blast 5 LLC, led by Larry Middleton
Neighborhood: Chenal Circle
Date Sold: Sept. 3
Year Built: 2003
This $2.8 million home sits on the 17th and 18th holes of the Fronting Founders Course at Chenal Country Club, according to the real estate website Zillow. Built by renowned Little Rock homebuilder Jack Hartsell, the house features an 80,000-gallon pool and a “distinctive free standing 3-story elliptical foyer staircase,” Zillow said.
Curtis Howse is an executive vice president of Synchrony Financial and CEO of its home and auto division. Synchrony, of Stamford, Connecticut, is a consumer financial services company. He previously led Synchrony’s direct to consumer division for Synchrony Bank, an online banking platform with more than $63 billion in deposits, according to a company news release.
2. $2.3 Million
Buyer: Matthew & Suzanne McClendon Joint Revocable Trust
Sellers: Lynn and Frances Mayhan
Date Sold: Nov. 15
Year Built: 1949
The Matthew & Suzanne McClendon Joint Revocable Trust bought this $2.3 million house that offers views of downtown Little Rock and the Arkansas River. The house features “beautiful iconic craftsmanship combined with the ultimate location, [and] gorgeous entry flanked by formal living and banquet dining,” Zillow said. The main level has a master bedroom, a study and home office. The second floor has two guest rooms.
Matt McClendon is the CEO of DSG Consulting of Little Rock. The company said on its website that it “helps B2B companies implement their ‘Big Ideas’ for driving growth through playbooks, training, and reinforcement.”
3. $2.1 Million
Buyer: Cedar Point Revocable Trust, led by David and Lauren Huckabee
Seller: Charlotte Leigh Caroom Revocable Trust
Neighborhood: Longwood Road neighborhood of west Pulaski County
Date Sold: March 15
Year Built: 2003
This $2.1 million home was built by Jack Hartsell, the renowned Little Rock homebuilder, and sits on 5 acres in west Pulaski County, according to Zillow. The house includes formal and informal entertaining spaces and family areas, a chef’s kitchen and game room.
David Huckabee’s father is Mike Huckabee, the Republican former governor who ran twice for president. David Huckabee’s sister is Sarah Huckabee Sanders, a former Trump White House press secretary who is running for governor. David Huckabee’s LinkedIn profile shows he’s co-owner of KOA Distribution LLC of Little Rock. KOA Distribution specializes in growing automotive dealerships’ revenue and profit, according to its website.
4. $2 Million
Buyers: Andrew and Jenny Faulkner
Seller: Brown Unified Credit Trust, led by Mary Patricia Brown
Neighborhood: Near the Country Club of Little Rock
Date Sold: July 19
Year Built: 1940
Andrew and Jenny Faulkner bought this $2 million house, which sits on a large corner lot near the Country Club of Little Rock. The home has a “spacious kitchen and large den” and five bedrooms, according to Zillow.
Andrew Faulkner is the owner and CEO of Staley Technologies in Little Rock, which provides technology products and services to the banking, hospitality, retail, manufacturing and health care industries. Staley Technologies operates across North America and has more than 200 employees. Faulkner earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and law degree from the Bowen School of Law in Little Rock.
5. $1.9 Million
Buyers: Albert and Traci Braunfisch
Seller: Estate of Mary Barzda
Date Sold: Sept. 20
Year Built: 1942
Albert and Traci Braunfisch bought this two-story, $1.9 million house in September. The house sold before it was listed, according to Zillow.
In 1990, Albert Braunfisch, his brother, Peter, and father, Hans Braunfisch, founded Image Checks Inc. of Little Rock, building it into one of the largest consumer check printers in the country. Albert Braunfisch was listed as its president until 1997, according to his LinkedIn profile. He also is a partner in Lost Forty Brewing, a production craft microbrewery in Little Rock. Braunfisch also is the chairman of Majority Strategies of Jacksonville, Florida, a full-service data, digital and print firm. He has been the past chair of the board of Hendrix College of Conway. He is a board member of CARTI of Little Rock.
6. $1.75 Million
Buyers: Antoine and Jessica Lucas
Seller: David Nagy
Neighborhood: Valley Falls Estates
Date Sold: Sept. 15
Year Built: 2004
Antoine and Jessica Lucas bought this custom-built home in the gated Valley Falls Estates. It features a four-car garage and a pool. It also has an “amazing” foyer with a custom floating staircase, Zillow said.
Antoine Lucas is the vice president of engineering at Southwest Power Pool of Little Rock. The nonprofit SPP manages the electric grid across 17 central and Western states. He was a 2017 Arkansas Business 40 Under 40 honoree. After a childhood in Lake Providence, Louisiana, Lucas earned an engineering degree at Louisiana Tech in Ruston. A summer internship with Entergy changed his path, and he worked for six years with Entergy in Pine Bluff before shifting to SPP.
7. $1.7 Million
Buyers: Scott Hogan and Joshua Campbell-Hogan
Sellers: Christopher Leigh John Trust and the Laurel Annie John Trust
Neighborhood: The Estates
Date Sold: Oct. 1
Year Built: 1994
Dr. Scott Hogan wasn’t planning on moving from his house of 16 years, but he and his husband, Josh Campbell-Hogan, needed more space for their growing family. “All of a sudden, we had three kids and needed more, and a house that was more child-friendly,” he said.
Scott Hogan said that both he and Josh fell in love with the house in the Estates neighborhood. “It’s just paradise,” he said of landscaping that includes a pool and water features. And it had enough bedrooms for the children to each have their own, as well as a theater room. “We couldn’t be happier with it,” said Scott Hogan, whose specialty is psychiatry. He is the medical director at Methodist Behavioral Hospital in Maumelle.
7. $1.7 Million
Buyers: Edward and Sarah Bailey
Seller: Jeff Fuller Homes LLC
Date Sold: Dec. 30
Year Built: 2021
Edward and Sarah Bailey had the $1.7 million house in the Cliffewood neighborhood custom built. The two-story home has five bedrooms, with each room having its own bathroom. “It’s a very open floor plan with 20-foot ceilings,” said Sarah Bailey, owner and principal broker of Pixel Properties Realty of Little Rock.
The couple also liked the area.
Eddie Bailey is a co-founder and partner at Blue Whale Development of Little Rock, a real estate development company. He graduated from the University of Arkansas Walton College of Business with a degree in finance. He was an Arkansas Business 20 in Their 20s honoree in 2013.
9. $1.675 Million
Buyer: HCB LLLP, led by Henry Browne
Sellers: Traci and Albert Braunfisch
Date Sold: Dec. 28
Year Built: 1975
HCB LLLP, led by Henry Browne, who goes by “Hank,” bought this $1.675 million home in December. The 5,750-SF residence is “the ultimate setting for family living and entertaining,” according to Zillow. The house features a large breakfast area that flows into a “fabulous gourmet kitchen with center island.” It also has a game room and “extraordinary grounds,” Zillow said.
In 1975, Browne founded Hank’s Furniture Inc. of North Little Rock. Hank’s Fine Furniture has grown to 17 stores in four states and is one of America’s top 100 independent furniture retailers, according to the company’s website. “As a family-owned business, Hank’s Fine Furniture has thrived because of our dedication to service after the sale,” the website said.
10. $1.615 Million
Buyer: Bierbaum Family Trust, led by William Cole and Diane Bierbaum
Seller: Allen Engstrom
Neighborhood: River Ridge
Date Sold: Dec. 23
Year Built: 1984
The Bierbaum Family Trust, led by William Cole and Diane Bierbaum, purchased this $1.615 million home. The house offers “absolutely beautiful panoramic river views,” according to Zillow, and features a “spectacular living room with high ceilings and a wall of glass.” It also has a pool that was renovated in 2007 and “fabulous outdoor terrace and grounds.”
Cole Bierbaum is a veterinarian and last year became an owner of Boulevard Veterinary Clinic in Maumelle, according to the company’s website. He graduated from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge and has been practicing for nearly 25 years. “His favorite part of veterinary medicine is performing preventative surgeries at shelters and low-cost clinics,” the website said.