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.
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.
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%).