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NWA building pace rose sharply in 2012

story by Kim Souza
ksouza@thecitywire.com

Building permit values across Northwest Arkansas rose 74% during 2012, as construction crews logged more hours and completed more jobs than in the prior two years combined.

The four largest cities of Fayetteville, Springdale, Rogers and Bentonville reported new construction permits totaling $605.65 million last year.

The same cities had permits valued at $347.83 million during 2011 and $264.97 million back in 2010.

Home builders were much busier as residential permits comprised a little more than half of the total activity which was valued in excess of $314.89 million during 2012. Single-family permits values rose from $193.56 million among the four cities in 2011.

Custom home builder Lee Scarlett predicted 2012 would be a good year for his business as the region showed signs of visible economic recovery very early on. Last year he had six custom homes going when he spoke to The City Wire in August, saying it was his busiest time in four years.

Fred Rausch, CEO of Rausch Coleman Homes, also said the Northwest Arkansas market is recovering and Bentonville has been the hottest market in terms of new demand with Fayetteville and Rogers following close behind.

His firm was on track to close 200 homes in 2012 for the local market which includes Fort Smith and Joplin.

“I think the builders in Northwest Arkansas are working at a sustainable pace. It’s not frantic by any means, but folks are working again and moving the product fairly well. There are no real inventories building up,” Rausch said.

Residential Permit Values
Bentonville
2012: $127.68 million
2011: $86.22 million
48%

Fayetteville
2012: $74.08 million
2011: $57.32 million
29.23%

Rogers
2012: $60.63 million
2011: $34.34 million
76.55%

Springdale
2012: $52.49 million
2011: $15.58 million
238.9%

COMMERCIAL SECTOR
Commercial permits among the four cities totaled $156.81 million in 2012. This compared to $154.27 million in the prior year as the pace of commercial construction remained almost flat with 2011. These permits were new construction only and did not include additions or remodels.

2012 Commercial Permit Values
Bentonville $42.92 million, down from $44.88 million
Rogers $26.68 million, down from $34.34 million
Fayetteville $79.53 million, up from $57.32 million
Springdale $7.67 million, down from $15.68 million

The multifamily building sector, which is considered commercial by a number of the cities, had permits totaling $133.9 million during 2012.

The largest apartment activity was in Fayetteville with 33 building permits valued at $132.52 million. Rogers and Bentonville also approved new apartment complexes last year and those permits thus far total $550,000 and $873,000, respectively.

Local market analysts say demand for rental property is high which should spur more building of duplexes and multifamily units this year.

Bentonville and Fayetteville issued multiple permits for duplexes in December.

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CUMULATIVE PERMIT VALUES
Fayetteville
2012: $286.13 million
2011: $106.98 million

Bentonville
2012: $171.48 million
2011: $131.10 million

Rogers
2012: $87.87 million
2011: $58.11 million

Springdale
2012: $60.16 million
2011: $51.64 million

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