As described in a previous article on Arkansas Economist, realtors’ associations provide two independent measure of Arkansas home sales. The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) conducts nationwide surveys to estimate total U.S. home sales, and provides quarterly estimates of sales at the state level. Locally, the Arkansas Realtors® Association (ARA) publishes monthly totals of Homes Sold in Arkansas by Realtors®, which represents a compilation of data from participating multiple listing services around the state.
Despite their differing methodology and coverage, the two sources of information about the Arkansas real estate market reveal the same pattern: Sales volumes declined steadily during 2007 and 2008, reaching a low point in the fourth quarter of 2008. During 2009, however, sales showed steady improvement.
The chart below illustrates these patterns. It shows both the NAR and ARA measures of home sales expressed in directly comparable forms — as indexes normalized to equal one in 2007.* The chart shows that in sales in the fourth quarter of 2008 had fallen by nearly one-third from the average volume of 2007. After steady increases during 2009 (seasonally adjusted), sales in the fourth quarter of 2009 were back up to well over 80 percent of their 2007 pace.
The outlook for Arkansas’ housing market is generally good. There may be brief sales downturns associated with the expiration of home-buyer tax incentives later this year and with inevitable increases in mortgage rates as economic expansion picks up pace. Nevertheless, the steady increase in sales during 2009 suggests that the residential real estate market in Arkansas is well on its way to recovery.*The NAR measure is published quarterly on a seasonally adjusted basis. The specific measure used in the chart is Existing Single-Family Home Sales, as reported by Moody’s Economy.com. The ARA measure is published monthly and is not seasonally adjusted. To construct the chart, ARA data were seasonally adjusted using the method described in a previous post, then averaged over quarters. Raw data and monthly reports for Homes Sold in Arkansas by Realtors® is available at the Arkansas Realtors® Association blog, The Arkansas Realtor®.