Posts tagged: Housing

Arkansas Home Sales – July 2015

By , September 10, 2015 10:56 AM

The latest monthly report from the Arkansas Realtors® Association shows a continuing uptrend in home sales around the state.   Sales of new and existing homes in July were up 9.9% compared to the previous year.  This followed a year-over-year increase of 15% in June.  Typically, the peak sales month of the year occurs in June, July or August.  Given the strength of the June report, it would not have been surprising to see a slight drop-off in July.  However, sales of 3,161 homes in July managed to exceed the 3,113 figure for June.  Cumulatively, over the first 7 months of the year, home sales are up 10.3% compared to 2014.

Source: Arkansas Realtors® Association

Source: Arkansas Realtors® Association

Seasonally adjusted data shown in the chart below clearly show the upward trend in home sales over the past 3 years.  The early phase of the recovery may have been driven, in part, by demand overhang from the recession and its aftermath.  Over the past 1-1/2 years, on the other hand, we’ve seen a pick up in job growth that has undoubtedly helped to spur increasing home sales.  Another factor behind this summer’s strength in real estate markets is the outlook for interest rates.  Mortgage rates remain near historic lows, but it is anticipated that the Federal Reserve will begin raising rates soon — perhaps as soon as next week.  Some of this summer’s home sales activity might be related to home buyers seeking to finalize their new home purchases before higher mortgage rates materialize.

Source: Arkansas Realtors® Association; Seasonal adjustment by the Institute for Economic Advancement.

Source: Arkansas Realtors® Association; Seasonal adjustment by the Institute for Economic Advancement.

The strength in home sales has been concentrated in the larger metropolitan-area markets.  Northwest Arkansas sales increases have been particularly robust:  Washington and Benton Counties combined showed a year-over-year increase of 20.6% in July.  Among the ten highest-sales counties in the state (table below), there are a handful in which July sales were below a year ago.  However, all ten show increases in year-to-date sales.

Source: Arkansas Realtors® Association

Source: Arkansas Realtors® Association

 

Arkansas House Prices – 2015:Q2

By , September 4, 2015 11:09 AM

Recently-released data from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) show that Arkansas house prices continued an upward trend during the second quarter of 2015.  Statewide, the FHFA “expanded data” index increased by 1.0% from the first quarter, and was up 2.9% from a year earlier (seasonally adjusted).  By comparison, the national index was up 1.5% quarter-to-quarter, and up 6.2% year-over-year.

Source:   Federal Housing Finance Agency

Source: Federal Housing Finance Agency

Around the state, metro-area house prices (as measured by all-transactions indexes) were generally up — with the notable exception of Fort Smith.  Volatility in the Fort Smith index masks a longer-term stability, with prices basically flat compared to five years ago.  Among other metro areas, year-over-year increases ranged from 1.7% in Little Rock to 4.9% in Jonesboro.

Source:  Federal Housing Finance Agency

Source: Federal Housing Finance Agency

Over the past five years, the metro areas with the most rapid rates of appreciation were Fayetteville and Jonesboro, both up 8.5%.  Since reaching a low point in 2011:Q2, house prices in Fayetteville have increased by 14.3%, recovering over half of the losses experienced from the beginning of 2007 through 2011:Q2.  As shown in the chart below, house price changes have varied considerably around the state since the housing market boom peaked around the beginning of 2007.  Prices remain 5% to 10% lower in Fayetteville and Memphis, but are up 10% to 15% in Jonesboro and Texarkana.  As measured by the all-transactions index, the statewide average of house prices is up slightly from 2007 (+0.5%).

Source:  Federal Housing Finance Agency

Source: Federal Housing Finance Agency

 

Arkansas Home Sales – May 2015

By , July 14, 2015 12:15 PM

New data from the Arkansas Realtors® Association indicates that May was a very strong month for home sales, up 11.5% compared to May 2014.  Total sales for the month were 2,579, the highest single-month of sales since the summer of 2007.  Home sales are typically highest in the summer months (June-July-August), so the May figures suggest a 2015 housing market that is continuing to improve dramatically, with strong momentum going into the summer months.

Source:  Arkansas Realtors® Association

Source: Arkansas Realtors® Association

After removing the typical seasonal variation in home sales, the following chart shows an extended uptrend in sales that has prevailed over the past 3 years.  Relative to the trend, May is clearly a strong month.  However, it follows some weakness over the recent winter months, which were affected by some unusually harsh weather conditions that might have delayed some transactions.  As is usually the case, the next two or three months will be important for gauging annual sales totals.

Source:  Arkansas Realtors® Association, Seasonal adjustment by the Institute for Economic Advancement

Source: Arkansas Realtors® Association, Seasonal adjustment by the Institute for Economic Advancement

Arkansas Home Sales – March 2015

By , May 20, 2015 3:28 PM

New data from the Arkansas Realtors® Association show another strong month for Arkansas real estate markets, with home sales up 15.8% in March compared to the previous year.  Sales of 2,526 homes represented the highest March sales total since 2007.

Source:  Arkansas Realtors® Association

Source: Arkansas Realtors® Association

Following year-over-year gains in both January and February, total home sales for the first quarter of the year were up by 10.2% compared to the first quarter of 2014.  As shown in the figure below, seasonally adjusted home sales are continuing to follow a steadily rising trend.  The pace of sales has now recovered to well-above the peaks in 2009 and 2010 that were artificially inflated by federal home-buyers’ tax credits.

Source:  Arkansas Realtors® Association; seasonal adjustment by the Institute for Economic Advancement

Source: Arkansas Realtors® Association; seasonal adjustment by the Institute for Economic Advancement

Home sales were up among all of the largest counties in the state, with year-over-year gains particularly notable in Craighead County and Sebastian County.    The combined year-over-year increases for the Northwest Arkansas counties of Benton and Washington were 13.8% for March and 11.7% for the first quarter.   The combined totals for four Central Arkansas counties (Pulaski, Faulkner, Saline, and Lonoke) showed increases of 20.4% for the month and 8.5% for the quarter.

Source: Arkansas Realtors® Association

Source: Arkansas Realtors® Association

Arkansas Home Sales – January 2015

By , March 10, 2015 3:54 PM

New data from the Arkansas Realtors® Association (ARA) show that home sales in January 2015 were up 5.1% from the previous year.  As shown in the figure below, January is typically the slowest sales month of the year, so it is not possible to conclude too much from the one month’s sales figures.   Nevertheless, the sales total of 1,678 homes reported is the highest sales total for the month of January since 2007.

Source:  Arkansas Realtors® Association

Source: Arkansas Realtors® Association

Weather is often a factor for home sales during the winter months.  A year ago, January was a particularly wintery month, whereas weather conditions have been more harsh this year in February.  Hence, the year-over-year comparison for January might be more favorable than the figures will be for February.

Setting aside seasonal fluctuations, it is clear that Arkansas home sales have been on an increasing trend for the past two years.  Using the statistical technique of seasonal adjustment, the chart below eliminates the predictable seasonal swings, leaving only the trend and monthly variability.  From this perspective, the January sales total is right in line with recent sales trend.

Source:  Arkansas Realtors® Association; Seasonally adjusted by the Institute for Economic Advancement

Source: Arkansas Realtors® Association; Seasonally adjusted by the Institute for Economic Advancement

 

Arkansas Home Sales – 2014

By , February 20, 2015 2:51 PM

The final home sales report for 2014 from the Arkansas Realtors® Association showed December home sales at 2,107, up by 6.8% from December 2013. For the year as a whole, sales were 28,453, up 4.5% from the previous year.  As shown in the figure below, December is typically one of the slower months of the year for home sales so the monthly total contributes less to the annual total than do the summer months.  Nevertheless, the data for December 2014 show a slight uptick from the previous month.

Source:  Arkansas Realtors® Association

Source: Arkansas Realtors® Association

After smoothing out recurring seasonal fluctuations, however, the seasonally-adjusted data in the next figure show that December was actually a bit weaker than the trend that prevailed during 2014.  That is, the uptick in the raw data was smaller than would be expected for a typical December given the previous trend.  Overall though, the one-month downtick in the seasonally-adjusted series is not unusual and does not necessarily indicate any sign of a sustained slowdown.

Source:  Arkansas Realtors® Association; Seasonally adjusted by the Institute for Economic Advancement

Source: Arkansas Realtors® Association; Seasonally adjusted by the Institute for Economic Advancement

In fact, month-to-month fluctuations in the home sales data are common.  The home sales figures are based on closing dates, and there can be considerable variability in the accounting — particularly when weekends fall near the end or beginning of the month.  Moreover, the data are often revised when home sales are entered into the MLS database after the housing report has been issued.  So it is useful to look at the data after smoothing out seasonal fluctuations AND month-to-month variability.  The quarterly figure below makes both adjustments.  When considering the fourth quarter of 2014 as a whole, home sales continued to follow an increasing trend.

Source:  Arkansas Realtors® Association; Seasonally adjusted by the Institute for Economic Advancement

Source: Arkansas Realtors® Association; Seasonally adjusted by the Institute for Economic Advancement

Arkansas Home Sales

By , January 8, 2015 2:38 PM

This morning, the Arkansas Realtors® Association (ARA) announced that home sales in November were up 10.4% from the previous year.  As shown in the figure below, November is typically one of the slower months of the year for home sales.  At just over 2,000 units, however, sales in November 2014 were the highest for the month since November 2009 — the month in which the first Federal home-buyers’ tax credit expired.  The ARA total  for cumulative sales for the first 11 months of 2014 were 26,330, approximately 4.7% higher than same period a year earlier.

Source:  Arkansas Realtors® Association

Source: Arkansas Realtors® Association

To get a better sense of the trend in home sales, the figure below adjusts the home sales data for recurring seasonal patterns.  After seasonal adjustment, it is clear that the latest monthly home sales report extends a rising trend .  After the expiration of the second home-buyers’ tax credit in April 2010, Arkansas home sales were stagnant at a seasonally-adjusted pace of less than 2,000 homes per month.  Since mid-2012, we have seen steady improvement.  With only one month of the year yet to be reported, it is clear that 2014 will be the strongest year for home sales since before the recession.

Source:  Arkansas Realtors® Association; Seasonally adjusted by the Institute for Economic Advancement

Source: Arkansas Realtors® Association; Seasonally adjusted by the Institute for Economic Advancement

Arkansas Home Sales – August 2014

By , October 2, 2014 12:09 PM

The Arkansas Realtors® Association announced this morning that home sales in August were down 3.4% from a year earlier.  This was the first year-over-year decline since last November, but that shouldn’t come as a surprise.  The summer months of June, July, and August are typically the peak months of the year, but the peak can come in either July or August, depending on the number of closings that take place before or after Aug 1.  In 2013, the peak month was August, whereas this year the highest-sales month turned out to be July.  Comparing this year’s July/August total with last year’s, we see an increase of 3.4%.  Year-to-date, home sales are up 5.1% over last year.

ARA_0814_NSA

After seasonal adjustment, it is clear that while the August sales figure represents a slight down-tick from the previous month, it provides little evidence of any change in the upward trend of home sales over the past two years.

Source:  Arkansas Realtors® Association; Seasonally adjusted by the Institute for Economic Advancement

Source: Arkansas Realtors® Association; Seasonally adjusted by the Institute for Economic Advancement

Arkansas Home Sales – July 2014

By , August 28, 2014 1:47 PM

We received another strong sales report from the Arkansas Realtors® Association (ARA) this morning.  Last week, the ARA revealed a year-over-year sales increase of 10.3% in June.  In July, sales were up 10.8% from the previous year.  Two back-to-back reports of double-digit increases — coming during the peak sales season of the year — represent a clear indication that home sales are on the upswing.  As shown in the chart of not-seasonally adjusted data below, the July 2014 sales total was not only well-above the level of a year ago, but it also surpassed last year’s peak sales month (August).  As a matter of fact, the July sales figure of 2,875 was the highest single-month total since 2007.

Source:  Arkansas Realtors® Association

Source: Arkansas Realtors® Association

The peak sales months of the year are typically June, July and August.  Although their relative ranking can differ from year-to-year, sales during those three months usually account for about 30% of the annual total.  Applying standard seasonal-adjustment methods to the data, the upward trend is apparent:

Source:  Arkansas Realtors® Association; Seasonal adjustment by the Institute for Economic Advancement

Source: Arkansas Realtors® Association; Seasonal adjustment by the Institute for Economic Advancement

Because last year’s peak sales month came in August, it is quite possible that the next report from ARA will not appear quite so strong.  But it has already been a good summer for home sales.

Arkansas Home Sales – June 2014

By , August 22, 2014 12:32 PM

New data from the Arkansas Realtors® Association (ARA) show continued strength in home sales.  New and existing home sales were up 10.4% compared to June of 2013.  The sales total of 2,708 was the highest total for the month of June since 2007.   For the first half of the year, cumulative sales were up 6.3% from the previous year.

Source:  Arkansas Realtors® Association

Source: Arkansas Realtors® Association

The steadily improving trend in home sales can be seen more clearly when the data are aggregated by calendar-quarter and seasonally adjusted.  As illustrated in the figure below, sales in the second quarter of 2014 were up by more than 3% from the previous quarter, and were nearly as high as the peaks in late 2009 and early 2010 that were associated with Federal home-buyer tax credits.

Source:  Arkansas Realtors® Association; Seasonally adjusted by the Institute for Economic Advancement

Source: Arkansas Realtors® Association; Seasonally adjusted by the Institute for Economic Advancement

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