NORTHWEST ARKANSAS (KNWA/KFTA) — The Northwest Arkansas housing market is a “seller’s market” with high home prices and low inventory.
One local realtor, Dana Reynolds with Collier and Associates, said house hunting in the area right now is incredibly fast paced.
“I tell my clients upfront we’re going to have fun it’s going to be a journey,” Reynolds said. “Hang tight because you’re not going to be able to sleep on it, its fast decision and we’re going to have to educate you really quickly.”
One of those clients was Holly Smith. Smith and her husband bought a home in NWA with Reynolds in May 2021 and they had to act quickly when they found their dream home.
“I think from the moment we toured it, we turned in our offer something like an hour and a half later and we were one of three offers that were turned in that day,” Smith said.
The Smiths wanted a home with space for their 11-month old son as well as easy access to bike trails. They looked for about 2 months until they found it.
“I think for us we went in knowing we have something exact that we’re looking for, we’re not going to buy the first house we see but the houses that we want do exist on the market and so we just need to be patient and keep touring and wait for that perfect one to pop up,” Smith said.
Another Northwest Arkansas realtor, Dan Ashley, also has seen how fast houses are selling in the region.
“If they see a house that they think they would like to take a look at they probably need to go ASAP or it’s going to be sold,” Ashley said.
It can take longer for people to find a home because of the low inventory. Mike Warner, president of the Northwest Arkansas Board of Realtors, said the inventory of homes has slightly increased since 2020, but it’s still less compared to the previous five years.
“We are now up to a little over 1,100 listings so it’s taken a little bit of pressure off but consider back in 2014, 2015, 2016 in that area there were 800 or 900 listings in Bella Vista alone,” Warner said.
According to Arvest’s Skyline report on real estate, house prices in the region continue to climb. In 2021, the average home price in Washington and Benton counties is $306,236. That number is up 16% from the last half of 2020 when the average home price was $263,461.
The price is also up 44.2% from five years ago when the average cost was $212,323.
Mervin Jebaraj, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research, said increasing home prices will be here for a while.
“I think home prices will continue to go up in the short run while the region works on building more housing to make housing more affordable,” Jebaraj said.
Jebaraj said the region is working on plans to build more housing such as rezoning commercial areas into residential zones. However, right now higher home prices can make it harder for first-time homebuyers to find a house.
“That is one of the biggest fears that I have and many of us in the industry have is affordability, with the price is going up with multiple offers,” Warner said.
The hot housing market has also led to more people wanting to become realtors in NWA. Warner said there are about 3,500 realtors in the area and only about 1,100 listings.
“Competition is going to be fierce and the schools right now, when I talked to some of the instructors in real estate schools, they’re still full,” Warner said. “So, there’s a lot more people coming into the business.”
NWA realtors said the market isn’t expected to slow down soon, so they encourage people wanting to buy a home to start looking now before prices rise even more.