Aug 31, 2021 - Real Estate

Skyline Report: NWA housing prices surge as supply dives

Illustration of a "for sale" sign with a digital clock counting down from 5 seconds, then showing the blinking word "sold."

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Housing prices are up and supply is down.

What's happening: The biannual single- and multi-family residential Skyline Reports for the first half of 2021 were released to the media on Monday.

By the numbers: Northwest Arkansas average home prices have increased 16% in one year — to more than $306,000. Only 607 houses were for sale on the Multiple Listing Service at the end of June, the lowest number since 2012.

  • Benton County issued 1,720 building permits and Washington County issued 984 in the first half of 2021.
  • For the same time period, the vacancy rate for NWA multifamily properties decreased to 3.4% compared to 4.8% a year earlier.
  • The average monthly lease rate for a multifamily unit at the end of June was $768.48, up $27 from a year prior.
Source: Arvest Skyline Report. Chart: Axios Visuals
Source: Arvest Skyline Report. Chart: Axios Visuals

Why it matters: As home prices and rents climb, it becomes harder for lower-wage earners to afford housing or build personal wealth through equity in their home.

Context: Arvest Bank sponsors the reports, which focus on residential and commercial real estate in Benton and Washington counties. The Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) at the University of Arkansas completes the research.

What they're saying: Mervin Jebaraj, director of CBER, said, "As a region, we need to address the fact that housing costs are rising faster than incomes."

  • It's happening nationally, but at a "very rapid pace" in NWA, he said.

Principal real estate broker Aaron Peters told Axios that multiple buyers line up for every listed property, and many offer more than the asking price without contingencies.

What to watch: The commercial real estate Skyline Report, which gives a breakdown of retail, office and warehouse space in NWA, is due out in about three weeks.


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