FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — New businesses and residents continue to flock to Northwest Arkansas, and that contributed to the area slipping in Heartland Forward’s rankings of the “Most Dynamic Metropolitan Area” rankings.

According to the March 28 report, the Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers metropolitan area checked in at 34th for 2022, falling 17 spots from the prior year’s rankings. The drop was attributed to an increase in NWA real estate prices.

“Fayetteville would have been in the Top 30 if not for rapidly rising costs. This metro area had the biggest jump in median home prices in the nation in 2022 and also experienced dramatic increases in utility costs. After adjusting for inflation, Northwest Arkansas’ real economic gains were muted.”

Heartland Forward, Most Dynamic Metros 2022 Report, March 28

The top five metropolitan areas in the rankings were the following:

  1. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California
  2. Elkhart-Goshen, Indiana
  3. San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley, California
  4. Austin-Round Rock, Texas
  5. The Villages, Florida

Florida had five metros in the top 25, which lead all states. The report noted that more than half of the top 25 benefitted from a post-COVID recovery in tourism and recreation.

“Heartland Forward’s primary purpose is to help accelerate economic performance in the middle United States; therefore, we have a vested interest in understanding how heartland metros are ranked and why,” the report stated.

The 2022 edition of the report tracked employment, income, economic production and young firms to create an index that “captures both historic and forward-looking indicators that enable cities to evaluate policies impacting local economic performance.”

The complete report is available here.