In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic we haven’t been tracking home sales on a regular basis, but housing markets have been following a roller-coaster ride along with every other sector of the economy. Housing Market Reports from the Arkansas Realtors® Association were intermittent for a time, but are now up-to-date through January 2021. The data show that the number of homes sold in Arkansas were at an all-time high in 2020. The cumulative sales figure for December 2020 was 42,980 new and existing homes sold, up 15.2% from the previous year.
The seasonal pattern of home sales was distorted by pandemic-related disruptions, with slow sales in April and May. Compared to the same period a year earlier, sales were down 11.6% during those two months. Those declines were more than offset by strong sales later in the year: Sales hit a record-high 4,577 in July, and the average year-over-year growth rate averaged 24.3% over the second half of the year. January is always the slowest month of the year for home-sale closings, but markets had plenty of momentum going into 2021: Sales in January 2021 were up 9.4% from January 2020.
Looking at quarterly averages, the contrast between the sales slow-down in the second quarter and the resurgence over the second half of the year is even more evident.