FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – The housing market here in Arkansas has been anything but normal throughout this pandemic.  Some experts say certain aspects of the real estate market will never go back to the way they were before. 

I spoke to experts who tell me even when we put this pandemic in the rearview mirror, prices on homes may never go back to what they once were.

“We’re still are nationally, but I don’t think we’re going to go back to what it was pre-COVID or before this year,” says Executive Broker for Lindsey & Associates, Chris Demarest.

Arkansas has been famously one of the most affordable places to live in the country, but with housing prices in question, some may be concerned how much longer they’ll be able to say this. Jeff Cooperstein, a senior research assistant for the U of A, says circumstances aside, Arkansas should remain a more affordable place to live.

“Most of the people coming to Northwest Arkansas are coming from Arkansas, so relative to the rest of Arkansas we’re not more affordable. When you talk about people coming from other major metros we’re very affordable,” says Cooperstein.  

But, in the meantime supply amongst other factors are causing homes to frequently go for more than asking.  

“Construction costs are up, land costs are up. Even getting things like steel, you might be able to buy the steel, but getting the steel here is problematic. Of course, everyone knows that lumber costs have gone up a lot. I think quadruple in the last year,” says Cooperstein.

Even with Northwest Arkansas homes being sold at all-time highs, Demarest says it’s still not the worst time to buy.

“It may settle a little bit and prices may quit going up so quickly, but I believe we’re going to stay in this price range that we are now and probably go up from that,” says Demarest.

Cooperstein says with things starting to go back to some version of normal, he would be surprised if the market weren’t to level off somewhere in 2021 or 2022. But, because of this being the first pandemic in a century, he admits it is tough to forecast.