The MSA includes its twin city of the same name, located in Arkansas. Given its border location, it should be no surprise that many of the households that relocate to Texarkana, Texas, come from across state lines. According to U.S. Census Bureau migration data (Figure 1), most of the migrant inflow to Bowie County (the Texas side of the MSA) comes from cross-border neighbor Miller County. Afterward comes Little River County, Arkansas, followed by a handful of Texas counties, the most notable being Bexar County.
Overall household growth in the MSA's principal twin cities has been virtually nonexistent based on Census data up to 2017. That's not to say there hasn't been any household growth at all. Census tracts to the northwest of Texarkana's loop have shown net positive growth in household counts. This is also where the bulk of area home sales have occurred.
Most Housing Activity on Texas Side
Officially, the Texarkana MSA includes counties both in Arkansas and Texas. This means a lot of the public datasets regarding jobs and demographics report on the entire region. However, Center housing data for Texarkana stop at the state line. Based on area demographics, it appears most housing activity occurs on the Texas side in Bowie County.
Sales volume in Bowie County surged between 2013 and 2015 (Figure 2). The following year was comparatively slow, but sales picked up in the years afterward.
Increase in home activity is also evident from purchase mortgage origination activity. Loan volume improved dramatically in 2015, when loan requests jumped over 10 percent in Bowie County. They've had positive growth since then.
The boost in home sales occurred right as job growth picked up. The previous eight years—basically since the GR—had been especially tough for the Texarkana area.
The inventory of homes began to rise aggressively in 2015 mainly due to a surge of new listings through the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). This surge outpaced the positive sales trend occurring at the same time.
Until 2019, home prices were growing at a steady pace. The most noticeable jumps in price growth began in 2016 (Figure 3). This was followed by an almost equal drop in growth in 2017 before returning to a more gradual positive trend.
Interestingly, the average marketing period for sold homes was and still is in decline. Given the growing collection of homes available to buy through the MLS, one could reasonably expect the increased competition to cause overall days on market to increase. That may soon change if price growth begins to soften.
Single-family permit data from the Census Bureau include the entire Texarkana MSA. From 2000 to 2006 building permits were at their highest, peaking at more than 250 in 2003 with a median value of $113,700. Permit requests lingered for some time after the GR, but they've fallen to less than 50 permits since 2015 (Figure 4).
Following Statewide Trends
June 2019 year-to-date (YTD) sales are essentially identical to June 2018 YTD sales. Without any new surge, sales growth should level off by the end of the year. Job growth since the start of the year has slowed, signaling a possible end to consecutive years of annual sales volume growth.
These trends are occurring at the state level as well. Statewide, June YTD sales are on par with the year before, meaning even Texas' larger hot markets are starting to cool. Texas job growth also has begun to cool.
Texarkana may lie on the Arkansas line, but its housing market orbit is still heavily influenced by Texas.
Roberson (email@example.com) is a senior data analyst with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University.