FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – “When we left Northwest Arkansas, we realized that was home. This is a house that we have down here, that’s why we’re coming back to Bella Vista,” says Ted Loef, currently living in Florida. 

Loef’s good friend and president of the Northwest Arkansas Board of Realtors, Mike Warner, says he’s helped him buy several homes in Northwest Arkansas in the past, but this recent experience was nothing like before. 

“When we sold my house the first time, we got a really good price on it; when we bought this one, we had to pay well over asking, and we were one of 11 offers,” says Warner. “We also had to waive certain contingencies, which I hate doing, you’ll still have the inspection done, but you’re saying you won’t make any repairs. ”

Economist for the University of Arkansas, Mervin Jebaraj, says this is becoming an overwhelming problem in Northwest Arkansas. 

In the last five years, the average home price has risen more than 50%; in the last year, it’s risen more than 15%.

“More money is going into people’s homes, and less money is available for businesses in this region trying to sell them goods or experiences,” says Jebraj. 

Jebraj worries if the housing market continues to trend in this direction, Northwest Arkansas may never be the same. 

“We will no longer be the affordable place that people move to, we will still have great amenities, but other places have great amenities,” says Jebraj. 

However, as a buyer, Loef has noticed this housing trend is a problem in more than just Northwest Arkansas. 

Jebraj says this is a problem we should be looking to solve now before things really get out of hand; he suggests things like finding out how to build more sustainable housing in a timely manner.