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story.lead_photo.caption FILE — Mervin Jebaraj, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas, talks about Northwest Arkansas' and Arkansas' economic state at a business forecast lunch at the John Q. Hammons Center in Rogers in this Jan. 27, 2018 file photo. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/SPENCER TIREY)

The covid-19 pandemic hammering the U.S. economy is leaving the real estate market in Northwest Arkansas generally unscathed, so far.

Mervin Jebaraj, the director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas and lead researcher of the Skyline Report said the area's push and pull of supply and demand is keeping home prices high and vacancy rates in the multi-family sector low.

According to the report, the number of listed homes were down nearly 50% to 1,206 when compared with the first half of 2019. During the same period the number of lots available to build new homes in active subdivisions stood at 3,896, the lowest amount since the report began in 2004.

Jabaraj said single family home sales are strong, adding the inventory of available homes is down significantly, driving up home prices. Housing prices in Benton County were up, with an average selling price of $270,000, an increase of 8.8% when compared to a year ago and up 36.1% when compared to five years ago. In Washington County prices were up slightly less, with and average selling price of $250,000, an increase of 5.3% when compared to the first half of 2019 and growing 27.7% when compared to the same period five years ago.

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