The Vitality of Downtowns in Northwest Arkansas
- Siloam Springs
Downtown Bentonville is booming. It has experienced steady growth in both commercial and residential property values and increased permits for construction of single-family homes that show "strong demand for living space" downtown. Residential average sales per square foot have jumped more than 200% in the past five years, raising concerns about affordability for people of different income levels, including young professionals.
Fayetteville's extremely low residential vacancy rates in 2017 - 1.8% for one-bedroom units and 0% for two bedrooms in multi-family units - confirm the city remains highly attractive but is in need of additional housing. Its expanding student population, the report found, "contributes tremendously to the growing vitality of the area, and helps make it a place to live, work, and play." Residential average sales prices per square foot rose almost 13% from 2012 to 2017.
Residents of downtown Rogers have the highest median annual income, $36,671, of the five communities, signaling the potential for growth in downtown amenities. The addition of more restaurants, schools and entertainment venues points to increasing demand for residential space. But rising housing costs are threatening affordability, as prices per square foot have risen more than 100% over the past five years.
Siloam Springs is still in the early stages of implementing its downtown master plan. It has the smallest downtown population in the region and will require increased investment in residential and commercial properties to create a vibrant city center, the report showed. Demand for existing multifamily homes is strong and the shortage of housing points to the need for additional residential investment.
Springdale is "poised for growth" with the construction of new trails and the opening of several new restaurants and bars, the report showed. With a median resident age of 28 years old, it boasts the youngest downtown population and the second highest number of residents. Like Siloam Springs, Springdale is also still in the early stages of implementing its downtown master plan. Downtown residential property prices have jumped almost 50% over the past five years amid a lack of new residential construction.