Cooling Condos and The Buyer’s Market in This Week’s Arkansas Business

Arkansas Business this week surveys Arkansas upscale real estate market and find the situation here better than in other parts of the country, though there are some rough patches.

Got a $400,000 home to unload? Be prepared to wait awhile. Homes in that range are taking longer to sell. It’s a buyer’s market for sure — if you can sell the home you’re already living in. In Central and Northwest Arkansas, homes in that range are taking more than 200 days to transfer:

That varies quite a bit, depending on location, but the slowed economy and tighter credit rules have changed the real estate business.

“It’s definitely taking longer to sell,” said John Selva, owner-broker of Pulaski Heights Realty of Little Rock. “Ninety days was a good market time.”

“Buyers are out there,” he said, “but if they’re wanting to move up, they have a house to sell.” The seller wants a good price for his home, but the buyer thinks that the current market equates to a fire sale. The seller, in turn, thinks the buyer is low-balling the offer. It can become something of a stalemate, Selva said.

More on that here.

Meanwhile, what about all those condos in Little Rock? Real estate guru George Waldon notes stories of condo buyers getting cold feet and trying to extricate themselves from purchase contracts, while sellers holding their feet to the fire. In some cases, after months of no buyers, some condo owners are deciding to lease property, rather than sell, to cover as much of the monthly expenses as possible.

But one prominent condo developer remains hopeful:

The developer of the two newest and biggest condo projects in downtown Little Rock, the 300 Third Tower and the River Market Tower, has refrained from seeking leases on unsold units.

“We’re pretty much trying to stay the course,” said Jimmy Moses, partner at Little Rock’s Moses Tucker Real Estate. “It’s a tough market, but what an incredible time to buy a condominium.”

The firm does oversee a lease pool of about 20 of the 160 units for owners in its 300 Third Tower, First Security Tower, Capital Commerce Center and Rainwater Flats.

“Each month, the interest seems to grow in it,” Moses said. “We have a long waiting list for rentals in the high-rises.

“For the most part, anything we can get is rented pretty quickly. The demand for condos is as strong as it has ever been. Some of that is rental demand replacing sales demand. But a lot of people are still wanting to live downtown.”

More on that here.

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