Fayetteville Arkansas, University of Arkansas--Old Main Overview

Fayetteville Arkansas, University of Arkansas--Old Main Overview
Overview of Fayetteville, AR

Monday, January 13, 2014

Sales of NW Arkansas Homes Mostly Up for 2013

For the first 11 months of 2013, the number of homes sold in in Benton and Washington Counties was up 17.36%. That’s the best rate in all of Arkansas. Thinking back only two years to the dismal 2011 real estate market makes it look exceptionally good.

The number of homes sold increased, the median sales price expanded, and the total value of homes sold rose. The average number of days on the market decreased.

For some reason not yet fully explained, sales throughout Arkansas dipped in November 2013. Rising interest rates may have been partially to blame. Consumer confidence was shaken due to the government shutdown in October and uncertainties about the rollout of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

The December sales figures are not yet available.

Seems like a majority of real estate professionals predict mortgage interest rates will increase in 2014. My crystal ball is out for repair so I’m not weighing in on the subject right now. I do know though, that as interest rates increase, buyers are generally forced to buy a less costly home in order to keep their payments affordable.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

USA’s National Emblem (Bald Eagle) Alive and Well in NW Arkansas

The majestic American Bald Eagle, symbol of the strength and long life of United States, migrates every year to winter and raise young in NW Arkansas. With a wing span of seven feet, eagles can fly at speeds up to 30 MPH and dive at 100 MPH. Truly an awesome sight.

Males and females look alike and both sexes work hard to raise their young. They mate for life and build huge nests to which they return year after year. They refurbish and enlarge their nests over time to the point that some become as large as an automobile.

We are lucky in NW Arkansas to be able to see bald eagles (which are not actually bald) from October to February. Beaver Lake is undoubtedly the largest lake in the area and has the most eagles, but sightings occur on other lakes and reservoirs. Eagles have even been seen soaring over roadways or near chicken houses where I presume they hope to find a dead chicken.

The easiest and surest way to see bald eagles and their nests is the Eagle Cruise. For only $10/adult or $5/child (kids under 6 ride free), you can take advantage of a 90-minute pontoon-boat cruise on Beaver Lake. An interpretative guide goes along to take you to the optimum locations for success and answer questions as well.

Reservations are required so call Hobbs State Park at 479-789-5000 or stop by the Visitor Center. This could be a great field trip, not only for families with children but for anyone interested in one of our great natural resources in NW Arkansas.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Benton County Among the Best in the Country for Employment Growth

Who would have guessed that among thousands of counties in the United States, Benton County, Arkansas, would be in second place for employment? It’s true according to CreditDonkey, a credit card comparison website that publishes various data-driven analyses.

The CreditDonkey study primarily looked at employment growth, wage growth, and improving unemployment rates during the twelve months March 2012 to 2013.

San Mateo County, California was the only county ahead of Benton County. Falling behind Benton County were counties in the Denver, Atlanta, and Seattle metropolitan areas among others. That’s enough to make some of us long-time residents overjoyed. It is always exhilarating to learn that outsiders concur with what we’ve known all along.

During the study period, employment growth in the U.S. grew slightly more than 1.6%. Wage growth in Benton County increased 2.7%.
Wage growth in Benton County increased a whopping 14.3% to an average weekly pay of $1,339. San Mateo County was only one-half of one-percent ahead at 14.8%. The next best rate after Benton County was Loudoun County, Virginia, in the Washington, D. C. area at 2.4% and that’s not even close.
During the same time, average U.S. weekly wages grew by 0.6%, or $6, resulting in an average U.S. paycheck of $989.

Benton County’s unemployment rate also moves in the right direction. In January 2013, the U.S. rate unemployment rate was 7.9% and Benton County’s rate was 6%.  As of August 2013, Benton County’s rate had fallen to 5.4% and the U.S. rate was still above 7%.

Good things are happening all the time in beautiful Northwest Arkansas.

Friday, January 03, 2014

New Year Good News for Local Charities

As we pass from the season of giving into the new year it seems appropriate to take note of some great news for local charities.

The 2013 Bikes, Blues and BBQ Motorcycle Rally back in September was a big success in all respects. Held each fall in Fayetteville, the goal of the rally has always been to provide family-friendly entertainment and raise funds for local charities at the same time. As the many events have caused venues to spread to surrounding areas, the charitable giving has spread as well.

This year’s donations total $105,000, a $15,000 increase from 2012. There is a long list of recipients. The largest donation, $28,000, was given to Northwest Arkansas Economic Development district and it included $5,000 for Meals on Wheels program in Fayetteville.

Next largest donation was $20,000 to Fayetteville Boys and Girls Club.

Several $5,000 checks were given to other local groups including Northwest Arkansas Free Health Center; Peace at Home Family Shelter; and LifeStyles, Inc. which helps people with disabilities reach their full potential within the community

Single Parent Scholarship Fund of NWA and Sheriff Ralph Baker Memorial Scholarship Fund also received donations.

I’m not going to take space here to list every recipient but all are worthwhile organizations that work hard to make life better for many people in our area.

Thanks to the organizers, participants, and visitors to Bikes, Blues and BBQ. Hope 2014 is even more successful.