Fayetteville Arkansas, University of Arkansas--Old Main Overview

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

Monday, March 26, 2007

Women Buying Homes in Record Numbers

A majority of American women now live without a spouse according to a New York Times analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data. In other words, 51% of adult women in this country are on their own.

Though married couples continue to dominate the market, single women now purchase approximately 22% of all homes bought in this country. Single men constitute only 9% of home purchases.

I found that number surprising but looking a little deeper, it isn’t surprising at all. Today’s women are better educated than ever before. Women college graduates outnumber men 57 to 43. Women are more confident, earn more money, and are becoming increasingly sophisticated about financial matters. Many women wisely see homeownership as the best way to reach financial stability and security.

It wasn’t too many years ago that single women were basically shut out of homeownership because lenders did not want to grant mortgages to them. Now lenders offer a variety of non-traditional mortgage products to encourage women to become homeowners.

Outreach programs by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have helped first-time homebuyers and minorities get into their own homes. For example, divorced women are frequently given first time buyer status, thus making low down payment or subsidized loans available to them even if they owned a home in the marriage.

Child support payments can now be counted as income, which boosts the ability of many newly single parents to qualify for a mortgage.

Even recent college graduates are finding mortgages that enable them to become homeowners with only a small cash down payment.

And, women have discovered they don’t need a husband to put up a shelf or paint the living room. Thanks in part to large home improvement stores that offer classes on how to do just about anything to do-it-yourself television programs, women have become empowered. They are willing and able to take on projects their grandmothers would never have considered.

I frequently help single women purchase homes. I bought my first home in 1975, back in the days when single women rarely bought homes, and it was one of the best investments I ever made. Whether it’s your first home or you’re moving up, I will be happy to help you do the same. Call me at 479-966-0435.

For more information:




Thursday, March 22, 2007

2006 NW Arkansas Housing Market Report

I have just finished a marketing report for 2006 for NW Arkansas. It gives conditions of the housing market, absorption rate, the number of homes for sale by price range, and much more. The towns covered are Bentonville, Fayetteville, Rogers, Springdale, and Bella Vista. See what home prices have been doing in the past years to help understand what is happening in the market now as the needed "adjustment" is also occurring here. To view this report, visit my main website at http://www.judyluna.com and click on 2006 Market Report under Articles and Links on the left of the home page.

Do-it-Yourself Checklist

I’ve known people who seem to have the ability to do almost anything and do it well. Unfortunately, I’ve also known people who undertake tasks they never finish or when they are finished, you wish they never started.

If you are thinking about repairs or improvements to your home, please consider these points before you start:

Do I have all the skills to do the job right the first time?
Do I have the time required to do the job properly?
Can I actually do the work to a professional degree, or will it look as if an amateur did it?
Are all the right tools available? Can I afford to buy or rent all the right tools?
Have I considered all aspects of the job from beginning to end?
Do I need a license for electrical or plumbing tasks?
Do I need a building or zoning permit?
Is there a risk I will damage the home?
What do I risk if I do the work myself?
What is the possibility that I may be injured?
Will I lessen the value of my home?

All of these questions are fundamental but #11, “Will I lessen the value of my home?” is frequently overlooked by the do-it-yourselfer intent on saving some money. The question becomes vitally important when the homeowner wishes to sell the home.

Buyers will notice sloppy workmanship and it will affect their perception of the property. Sometimes a buyer will turn around and leave without any further consideration of the property.

Other times sloppy repairs (think crooked tile or a bad seam on the kitchen counter top) will result in a buyer offering several thousand dollars less on a property.

Even worse is a remodeling project that doesn’t meet local codes. That can be a nightmare.

So, I urge you to consider all aspects before you do-it-yourself. If you have the necessary expertise, fine. If you are not proficient, don’t shortchange yourself now. Have a qualified professional do the work.

For more information:


Saturday, March 17, 2007

9th Graders to be Included in Fayetteville High School

The Fayetteville school board voted March 15 to add 9th graders to high school. Currently 9th graders attend two junior high schools.

The vote was tight – 4 members for, 3 against. By passing this item, the board accepted the recommendation of the Future of FHS Select Committee.

In February the board voted to accept the committee’s other recommendation – namely to continue operating only one high school.

Still unclear at this point is when the 9th graders will be added to high school and when/where the new high school will be built.

For more information:



Friday, March 16, 2007

Springdale Limits Parking Cars in Front Yards

The City of Springdale has passed some common-sense (but difficult to enforce) rules to reduce the number of vehicles parked in front yards.

An ordinance adopted by the City Council earlier this year will now begin to be enforced. It gives residents the opportunity to build one additional parking space no larger than 9 feet by 19 feet in their front yard. The new space must be landscaped and adjacent and parallel to an existing driveway. Residents are also allowed to pave up to 40% of their front yard for parking, and homes with existing gravel driveways will not be required to pave them.

Violators will be issued a citation on the first offense. After that fines of up to $500 for each offense and $250 per day for continued offenses will be assessed.

At first thought this may seem a bit unnecessary, but drive around the city and you will quickly understand the need for the ordinance. There are many neighborhoods where cars and trucks are parked all over the property. Sometimes the vehicle has a “For Sale” sign on it, other times it is simply a matter of too many vehicles for the size of the driveway. Worse yet are the vehicles in various stages of repair or those that will never again run on their own power.

On the other hand, the large number of vehicles in the yard in some neighborhoods is a reflection of the times. Many older homes and duplexes, for example, have only one-car garages. This may have been adequate in the past, when each family had only one car. But now, many families have more than one breadwinner and multiple vehicles. Older children may also have their own vehicle. There is simply no room to park all of them without parking on the lawn or blocking the street.

Another issue is that in rental areas, landlords could be asked to build additional parking spaces to accommodate their tenants’ needs. Concrete work is not cheap, so to build even one additional park pad can be prohibitively expensive. Also less affluent homeowners may not be able to do so. Luckily the Springdale ordinance allows for homeowners to apply for a variance with the Springdale Planning Commission in hardship cases.

And all of this is related to the issue of affordable housing (or the lack thereof). Increasingly low income area dwellings are home to multiple families, who share the dwelling in order to be able to afford the rent or mortgage payments. And with multiple families come multiple vehicles.

Overall, I think eliminating this eyesore will help maintain property values. But my question is WHERE (for multi-vehicle families in rental or low-income areas) the additional vehicles will be parked if the home’s owner is unwilling or unable to afford to build an additional park pad.

Enforcing this new ordinance is going to be difficult, if not impossible. If vehicles cannot be parked in the yard, they may end up being parked in the street, causing difficulty for traffic. They won’t go away, and fining property owners or tenants will not necessarily solve the problem.

Rogers is considering a similar ordinance.

For more information:



Monday, March 12, 2007

January Home Prices Declined in Northwest Arkansas

According to an article in the business section of the Morning News last Monday, home prices began sliding down in Benton County (decrease of almost 6%) in January with a significant drop in sales (down 19.69% from January of 2006). At the same time, while average prices in Washington County also decreased by 11%, the number of sales increased by 8.28% compared to January of last year.

This is a good-news/bad-news scenario for Northwest Arkansas, depending on whether you are a buyer or a seller of a home. For sellers, it means that they may not be able to sell their home at the price they might have hoped had the market continued rising at the same pace as during the past several years. For buyers, it means that with lower prices, they might be able to get a nicer home in their price range, and perhaps more people will now be able to consider purchasing a home.

A positive trend, not mentioned in the article, is that an increasing supply of more modestly-prices homes has contributed to the decrease in the average price of homes sold. This is good news, since it means that builders have finally seen the light and started building more affordable homes. This is also good news for buyers who haven’t been able to afford a new home because prices for such homes were so high. For example, there are now new homes being built in Fayetteville for less than $150K (only 2 subdivisions so far, but hey, it’s a start). This price for a new home hasn’t been seen for several years in Fayetteville. And this trend also exists in other communities in NW Arkansas.

According to Kathy Deck of the U of A Center for Business and Economic Research, the decline in home sales could be the beginning of the kind of corrections which have been occurring elsewhere in the nation. Until recently the NW Arkansas real estate market has largely been immune to these trends.

For more specific data on the January Arkansas Home Sale figures, the Morning News article can be seen at:


To view a copy of Judy’s Market Report for 2006, write her an email at judy@judyluna.com

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Homeless Count in NW Arkansas Revised Upward

The number of homeless people in NW Arkansas has been revised from 839 to 1,170. The 839 number was the preliminary estimate taken from a census of the homeless in January. The census was conducted for the Northwest Arkansas Housing Coalition, which planned to use the information to help its members apply for federal grants.

In addition to the 1,170 homeless, many more people are close to being homeless. Agencies that provide services to the needy see numerous examples every week of people who will soon be homeless – those who are just one paycheck away from paying the rent or those who have to choose between eating or heating.

As if that information isn’t sad enough, recent reports say NW Arkansas agencies will receive no money from HUD this year to help the homeless. More than $1.4 billion in HUD Continuum of Care grants was awarded nationwide to approximately 5,000 local programs to provide emergency shelter, transitional housing and permanent support to homeless individuals and families, according to a HUD press release. Not even $1 will reach NW Arkansas!

What’s wrong with this picture?

For more information, see my post of February 11, 2007 “Recent Census Estimates 839 Homeless in NW Arkansas”





Saturday, March 03, 2007

Future of Fayetteville High School Update

In a close decision, Fayetteville School Board voted 4-3 to continue operating only one school for all high school students in the district. Currently, that means grades 10-12.

There is much more to be considered. For example:

Will 9th grade be removed from Junior High to High School?
Will the present school somehow be expanded or abandoned in favor of a new school elsewhere?
If it is to be a new site, where will that be?
What are the costs of these decisions?
What is the resale value of the present high school property?
Is enrollment expanding enough to justify the expense?

The Future of Fayetteville High School Select Committee charged with evaluating the future of the high school recommended adding 9th grade to high school but the board did not vote on that subject.

My son graduated from FHS a few years ago so I feel justified in giving my opinion. I’m in favor of keeping 9th graders in junior high. They need another year of maturity and chances of leadership positions in junior high before being tossed into the high school where they are “small fish” in a very big pond.

I’m also in favor of one high school because I fear having two high schools may create a rivalry of sorts. One school may be perceived as better, or more modern, or have better labs and classes, etc. Or, and let’s hope this would not happen, one school may happen to have more affluent students because it’s located in a “better” part of town.

It is worth noting that while all these decisions are being made, Springdale and Rogers have each seen their enrollment go flat after several years of incredible expansion. Springdale’s enrollment has dropped about 100 students from the end of 2005-06 school year to the present time. Rogers has lost nearly 200 students.

Springdale is now postponing construction of several new schools that were planned.

I wish Fayetteville School Board well as they deal with these difficult decisions.

For more information:

See also my post “Last Chance to Influence Decision on Fayetteville’s High School Expansion” of February 8, 2007