Closings of new homes sank year-over-year in March in the Fort Smith, AR market, but the decline was less than the year-over-year decline in February. New home closings moved from 6 a year earlier to 3 after the figure moved from 14 in February 2015 to 5 in February 2016.

A total of 103 new homes were sold during the 12 months that ended in March, down from 106 for the year that ended in February.

New home closings were 3 out of the 308 total closings, a move on a percentage basis from 6 of 371 a year earlier. For new and existing homes, closings dropped in March after also declining in February year-over-year.

Pricing and Mortgage Trends

The average value of newly sold homes in March 2016 was $141,500, down from last year's $199,858. This came after a 13.6% gain in February year-over-year.

There was a decline in average mortgage size on new homes, going from $184,907 last year to $132,584 in March 2016. Average mortgage size on new homes went from $147,427 in February 2015 to $187,438 in February 2016.

Other Market Trends

There was no change in the composition of the new home market with regard to the types of properties sold in March 2016.

The average unit size of newly sold homes fell from 1,913 square feet a year earlier to 1,280 square feet.

Foreclosures and real estate owned (REO) closings continued to fall from a year earlier in March, but did not look to be a burden on the market. Combined, foreclosures plus REO closings represented 23.0% of existing home closings, below 28.5% a year earlier. The percentage of existing home closings involving foreclosures declined to 9.5% in March from 11.2% a year earlier while REO closings as a percentage of existing home closings slid to 13.4% from 17.3% a year earlier.

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