On Monday–just one day before the Arkansas Economic Forecast Conference–the Arkansas Realtors® Association (ARA) released home sales data for September. Total sales for the month, 1971, differed from the projection embedded in the Arkansas forecast by only 18 homes. Consequently, the new data required no real adjustment to the forecasts. As shown in the two figures below, home sales have shown little growth this year compared to 2011. For the first 9 months of the year, ARA reports that total sales are down 0.5%.
The peak summer sales season has passed, so home sales over the remainder of the year are unlikely to have any substantial impact on this year-to-year comparison. The forecast presented on Tuesday anticipates that home sales will end the year essentially unchanged (-0.1%) from the 2011 totals. With record-low mortgage rates, home prices starting to show some upward momentum, and employment steadily improving, some rebound in home sales is expected in 2013. The forecast anticipates growth of 5.9%.