Oct 4, 2022 - Real Estate

Attainable housing relief for Northwest Arkansas on horizon

Illustration of a Rubik's cube in the shape of a house.

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

A church, a developer and a foundation are working to solve the puzzle of affordable housing in NWA.

What's happening: Cobblestone Farm Community, a new development in Fayetteville's south side, is working to provide houses for rent to about 100 families.

State of play: Vacancy rates are tight, with only 2.3% of NWA's available rental properties unfilled as of June 30, according to the Skyline Report.

  • And scarcity is driving prices up. The average lease rate has jumped 18% from $729 at the end of 2020 to $860 in June.

Details: The project, dubbed The Community, will mostly be duplexes with one to four bedrooms.

  • Rent will range from $365-$625 monthly.

Flashback: This is one of five developments, with a total of 345 units, that Excellerate Foundation announced last fall.

  • About half a dozen local businesses invested $40 million in the NWA Regional Fund, a tax credit syndicate, to pay for the construction of the projects.
  • The properties are in various stages of development.

Details: The new housing development is south of the 25-acre nonprofit Cobblestone Farm, at Wedington Drive and 54th Avenue.

  • Land was originally donated to New Heights Church, a spokesperson for Excellerate Foundation, told Axios.

What they're saying: "Regional data shows that there are at least 150,000 people who can't afford market-rate housing in Northwest Arkansas, especially when it comes to rental properties," Jeff Webster, president and CEO of Excellerate Foundation, said in a news release.

  • "And, as a study released in 2019 by Walton Family Foundation notes, 'failure to act could result in widespread instability, including job losses, increased poverty, and rising numbers of homeless individuals and families,'" Webster added.

What's next: The development's construction is expected to be completed between late 2023 and early 2024.


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