Tuesday, January 07, 2014

TOP STORY >> Housing makes slow recovery in many areas

Leader senior staff writer

Regional housing construction was up marginally during the first half of 2013.

Cabot saw the fastest growth in single-family housing construction with 35 percent growth compared to the first half of 2012, and Benton had the second-fastest growth in single-family housing construction with 16 percent.

That’s according to a section titled “Slow Housing Market During First Half of 2013” in the Metro Trends Economic Review and Outlook published by Metroplan in December.


Last year, the average new single-family home in Maumelle was $269,950, more than three times the value of the average new home in Jacksonville, which is $83,477.

You could build two new average homes, one in Cabot and the other in Sherwood, for the cost of a new home in Maumelle.

The average new home in Cabot in 2012 was $111,918. In Sherwood, it was $142,613.

Sixty-five single-family permits were issued for Cabot for the first half of 2013, after averaging about 46 new permits in the first six months of 2010, 2011 and 2012. That was the fastest up-tick in single-family housing, according to Metroplan demographer Jonathan Lupton.

In the Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway metropolitan area, total housing permits for the first six months of the year peaked at about 2,650 in 2004, then started a downward trend getting down to about 1,000 in 2012 and ticking up again to about 1,250 for 2013.


While Little Rock accounts for only 29 percent of the population of the four-county Central Arkansas Metropolitan Planning Area, it accounted for 39 percent of the new housing units in the first six months of 2013. That’s up from about 20 percent of new housing permits in 2006, according to Lupton’s figures.

Of the larger cities and towns in Pulaski, Lonoke, Saline and Faulkner counties, Benton had the second-fastest increase, up to 117 from 101 in 2012.


Only Cabot, Little Rock and Sherwood issued more permits in the first half of 2013 than they did in 2010. Sherwood issued 73 permits, up four from the first half of 2012. That’s a six percent increase.

New single-family housing permits in Jacksonville remained flat at 15 for the first six months of 2013. The recent high for the first half of the year was 33 in 2010, but dropped to about half of that for the first half of 2011 and 2012.

No multi-family permits were issued for Cabot, Jacksonville or Sherwood for the first half of 2013. In Jacksonville, 12 multi-family permits were issued in 2009, six in 2010, none in 2011 and eight in 2012.


In the post-housing bubble economy, Jacksonville issued 33 single-family housing permits in the first half of 2010, 16 in 2011, 15 in 2012 and 15 in 2013. For the full years ending Dec. 31 Jacksonville issued 51 permits in 2009, 55 permits in 2010, 31 permits in 2011 and 100 permits in 2012, according to Metroplan’s semi-annual publication Metro Trends.


In the Little Rock/North Little Rock area, where most Pulaski County residents live, between the 1990 and 2000 censuses, the concentration of 25 to 34-year-olds in west Little Rock dropped from more than 22.5 percent of those residents to less than 15 percent, demonstrating a preference for living in the urban center rather than outlying areas, Lupton said.

That age group concentrated closer to the River Market and along the river in downtown Little Rock, and also in the Argenta area of North Little Rock.

The median value of new home permits in the Little Rock, North Little Rock and Conway areas climbed from about $131,319 in 2000 to about $171,300 in 2005 and 2006 but declined from 2007 through 2012, from about $160,500 to about $152,500.