Seller’s Market: Home sales on rise in Carroll County

Friday, October 6, 2017
Home sales in Carroll County have increased more than 40 percent in the past year, according to the Arkansas Realtors Association. Local real estate agents say rising consumer confidence is one reason for the uptick.
Photo by Tavi Ellis/Carroll County News

It has been a good year for real estate agents — and sellers — in Carroll County.

According to the Arkansas Realtors Association, sales of new and existing homes in Carroll County increased by 42.4 percent in the first eight months of the year compared with 2016. The total value of the units sold showed a corresponding increase, jumping 41.6 percent over 2016.

Through the end of August, according to the state association, 235 units had sold this year in Carroll County with a total value of $38.5 million. For the first eight months of 2016, 165 units sold, with a total value of $27.2 million.

“What we’re seeing in our office, I agree,” said Ronnie Whiteley of Montgomery Whiteley Realty in Berryville, who was asked about the reported increases. “We’ve really not had a slowdown all year in our office.”

Typically, Whiteley said, some parts of the year are not as busy for real estate agents. But not this year, he said.

“It’s just been really busy all year long,” he said.

Jerl Swofford of Kings River Realty in Berryville, said he has also seen an increase in volume.

“It’s been an excellent year for me,” he said. “The Green Forest market has been excellent. Overall, people are just looking for land and houses.”

Both Whiteley and Swofford pointed to Tyson Foods’ expansion in Green Forest, where the company is in the middle of building a second processing plant with a construction cost of $136 million, as part of the reason behind the increased volume.

“I do know that part of what’s helping Carroll County is the Tyson’s expansion,” Whiteley said. “People are optimistic.”

Swofford mentioned another economic indicator.

“I guess the economy is doing well,” he said. “I’m a firm believer that if gas prices are around $2 a gallon, things will do well.”

Don McClung of McClung Realty Inc. in Berryville wasn’t sure if the idea of a 40 percent uptick in sales was accurate.

“I’d say that’s probably a little high, but it is better for sure,” he said. “Interest rates have stayed low. Rural development loans have helped people that don’t have a lot of money for a down payment but would like to own a home. I think the market is picking up.”

Whiteley said the bulk of the increase has come in sales of existing homes, as opposed to new construction.

“The property values have crept up a little bit,” he said. “Our economy seems to be a little more stable.”

Both Swofford and McClung said the number of homes and lots for sale in the county is limited, which creates a “seller’s market.”

“There’s not much land for sale,” Swofford said.

“Part of the problem is the inventory of homes is not the best,” McClung said. “There haven’t been a lot of homes built in the last 10 or 15 years.”

“I think it’s just a general state of people maybe feeling a little better about the economy,” Whiteley said. “Carroll County is just blessed that we haven’t really seen a downturn like some other parts of the country.”

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