The latest data from the Arkansas Realtors® Association (ARA) confirms that the long-awaited recovery in home sales is underway. Earlier this week, the ARA reported that sales of new and existing homes in July were up 19.1% from July of 2012. As shown in the chart below, this year-over-year comparison overstates the trend rate of growth — but not by much. Among the peak summer months of May, June, and July, last year’s July sales were relatively weak while this year’s sales show a July peak. Nevertheless, the year-over-year increase for a three-month average was 10.8%. For the year to date, the ARA data show a 10.7% increase.
Seasonally adjusted data, shown in the next chart, clearly illustrate the rising trend. During 2011 and 2012, average monthly sales seemed constrained to less than 2,000 per month. The seasonally-adjusted data show that the symbolic 2000/month pace has been exceeded every month this year — with the trend accelerating into the busy summer months.
Data for individual counties shows that sales increases are not limited to any one metropolitan area, but are widespread. Among the 8 largest counties (by sales volume), all except Pulaski have shown double-digit growth rates in 2013 (year-to-date figures). For the central Arkansas counties of Faulkner, Pulaski and Saline combined, the year-over-year increase has been 11.3%.
Typical seasonal patterns suggest that sales will taper-off over the rest of the year. But given the strong summer sales pace, 2013 total sales will significantly exceed the lackluster figures from 2011 and 2012.