Numbers of Homes Being Built in Fayetteville Up 53% This Year

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) -- The number of homes being built in Fayetteville is up substantially this year, and it's tops in the region.

According to data from the city, this year there were 441 single-family building permits issued through July. That's a 53% increase from the same time last year.

But the growth raises concerns about how Fayetteville is keeping housing affordable.

Pat Sopko is disabled, not able to work and on a fixed income.

"I just can't believe the living situation here," she said.

Sopko is staying at a friends house just outside Fayetteville and has been looking for a place to rent in Northwest Arkansas for several months.

"The rents are crazy, they are like $500 on up for three or four rooms," Sopko said.

Mervin Jebaraj, the Director for University of Arkansas' Center for Business and Economic Research, says affordable housing can be determined by calculating the area's median home price divided by the median household income. 

"Since about 2013, 2014, across Northwest Arkansas we've seen about a $50,000 increase in the average home price," Jebaraj said.

If the ratio is above three, the housing market is more unaffordable.

"It's between 4/4.5 in Washington County, between 3/3.5 in Benton County because the incomes are higher."

Stuart Collier, a local broker, says although Fayetteville is dominating in growth, more affordable housing is going up in certain parts of the city.

"It's something that we need, it's something that the city of Fayetteville has identified as a need," Collier said. "Right now we are seeing some developments that are coming in on the west side of town, where land prices still haven't appreciated to the same levels of East or South Fayetteville. Builders are able to build little small house, a little more affordable to fill that gap of 300 and below housing."

Something Sopko would like to see more of.

"I love it here as far as that goes, it's just the housing situation," Sopko said.

Jebaraj says homes tend to be more expensive Benton County, but the difference between the cost of homes in Benton County and Washington county are shrinking to around a $20,000 difference.


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