Arkansas home sales gain more than 10 percent in a year; June's average price down 1.9 percent

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LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas — The Arkansas Realtors Association says home sales in the state jumped more than 10 percent in June compared with a year ago.

Realtors sold 2,708 homes compared with 2,453 in June 2013, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported Saturday (http://bit.ly/1q7Ejuy ). The average sales price in the 43 counties surveyed by the association was $164,227, down 1.9 percent from $167,455 last year.

Michael Pakko, chief economist at the Institute for Economic Advancement at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, said home sales in June were the best since 2007.

"That continues the trend of a steadily improving real estate market in the state," Pakko said.

Pakko also said sales between April and June were the best for any quarter since the second quarter of 2010, when sales were amplified by tax credits the federal government offered to homebuyers.

There were 7,799 houses sold in the second quarter of this year, down about 1.5 percent from the 7,920 sold in the second quarter of 2010.

"It has been a long, slow slog to get back to that point (in 2010)," Pakko said. "But it's still impressive."

Crittenden County in eastern Arkansas had the highest rate of growth in home sales among counties with more than 50 closings. Sales rose 62.5 percent in June with 52 homes sold, up from 20 sales in June last year.

Scott McElmurry, chief executive officer of Bank of Little Rock Mortgage, told the newspaper that mortgage rates are still are extremely low.

Interest rates for a 30-year mortgage are about 4 percent or slightly higher, McElmurry said. For a 15-year mortgage, rates are about 3.25 percent to 3.375 percent, he said.

That's a wider spread between the two rates, McElmurry said. A 15-year mortgage is usually only about a half-percentage-point lower than a 30-year mortgage, he said.

"The 15-year mortgage has been very popular with refinancing," McElmurry said. "But now it's becoming more popular on the purchase side, too."


Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.arkansasonline.com

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