While Northwest Arkansas is prosperous by multiple measures, many residents cannot afford what most people consider basic necessities, such as a car or quality childcare or even an affordable home. In fact, housing is becoming increasingly inaccessible to the region’s workers, families and seniors.
- Household income growth has lagged rising rent and for-sale home prices in three of the region’s four largest cities in the last several years.
- Regional employers have started expanding their facilities to less costly areas partly due to a limited supply of homes affordable to their workers in the region.
- On any given night, nearly 2,500 people in Northwest Arkansas (including more than 1,000 children) lack a permanent place to live.2
This is not only a report, but a call to action. Swift regional and local action is needed to meet the immediate needs of families who have lost their homes or are struggling to find one they can afford. Action must also address future needs, with nearly 80,000 families projected to move to Northwest Arkansas’ four largest cities—Bentonville, Fayetteville, Rogers and Springdale— by 2040. By then, to accommodate and continue to propel the region’s growth, approximately half of new homes in Northwest Arkansas must serve workforce households (a family of four earning $33,000 to $78,000) and the lowest-income households (a family of four earning less than $33,000).
Through extended community engagement, residents and regional stakeholders consistently identified the four most urgent housing challenges facing Northwest Arkansas over the next decade: 1) lack of a regional housing policy, 2) need for diverse housing options, 3) limited choices for low-income households, and 4) weak links between housing and transportation options.
Reports by City