Fayetteville Arkansas, University of Arkansas--Old Main Overview

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

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Some Good News--NW Arkansas Housing Market One of the healthiest in the nation...

This economic roller coaster that we’re all on these days has just taken another turn. Only a few days ago I wrote about Wal-Mart downsizing some 700-800 people at its corporate headquarters and the effect that might have on the overall housing situation in MW Arkansas.

Today we have good news.

Builder Online just named Fayetteville as one of the top 15 healthiest housing markets for builders in the country. In fact, Fayetteville was named #9. In today’s world, that’s quite a statement. And it comes from an independent research firm.

According to their research, the unemployment rate in Fayetteville was only 4.1% in fourth quarter 2008. Another strong factor Builder Online noted was home values dropped only 2.4% in the past year. Many, many cities suffered value declines of 10% and way up from there.

Of course Builder Online isn’t first to recognize good things about our area. Kiplinger, Sperling’s Best Places to Live, and U.S. News and World Report have already beaten them to it. Still, it’s always heartening when “outsiders” recognize what the people who live here already know. NW Arkansas is a great place to live.

The other thing is that all real estate is local. Despite “doom and gloom” in the national media, NW Arkansas is still a good place to live and to invest. There are some phenomenal “deals” out there, but now is the time to invest—low interest rates and most buyers have not hit the streets. Yet…

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Sunday, February 15, 2009


I just read a newspaper article about global warming that is positively scary. I've been watching how the North Polar icecap is decreasing and polar bears are having problems. This article appears to provide some reasons.

This has absolutely nothing to do with Fayetteville or Northwest Arkansas Real Estate, but this is a blog after all, and this article appeared to merit passing along.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

I Guess NW Arkansas Isn’t Bulletproof After All…

By now everyone has heard about Walmart cutting 700 to 800 jobs at the home office in a restructuring move. This has come as a big surprise to a lot of people including me, and I’m worried about a “chilling” effect that this could have on the local economy.

As the national media proclaim doom and gloom stories about job losses, increased unemployment rates, and yet more economic stimulus measures, we thought we weren’t as bad off as other parts of the country. Walmart and other large corporate employers in NW Arkansas have provided job growth here—smaller than in past years, but at least positive growth.

The other thing is that a discount store like Walmart usually does better when times are tough as they are now. Thus we thought this would keep our area “safe” from what’s happening elsewhere. So to have even Walmart cut 5% of their positions here is significant, and could affect the already suffering housing market.

The perceptions that the economy here isn’t as robust as people thought and that there may not be as many jobs available, may prevent new people from moving here and purchasing homes. On the other hand, some of those 700 people may have difficulty finding new jobs here and selling their homes to move elsewhere. Thus the chilling effect is magnified as the number of months of housing inventory increases at a time when sales are down compared to previous years.

For me as a Realtor® I’m disappointed. Yes, Walmart may be fiscally responsible to its shareholders, but when someone you know is one of those 700 people the negative effect is felt even more sharply. I just found out that a client of mine, a nice young man to whom I have sold a home and who was going to get married in a few months, was one of those laid off. He is, of course, devastated, and trying to take stock of his situation.

Ultimately the effect of these job cuts probably can’t be measured. But the actual as well as psychological chill this has caused locally goes beyond news reports on the situation. Only time will get us out of this economic mess.

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Friday, February 06, 2009

What I Learned About Generators During the Recent Ice Storm

Well, we're mostly back to normal after the severe ice storm last week in NW Arkansas. The electricity at my home went out on Tuesday; we finally got energy again on Sunday.

As I write it’s 10 days after the storm and according to news reports, power has been restored to all but about 20,000 homes – mostly in remote areas. Sometimes just getting to those homes requires chainsaws, bulldozers, and manpower to cut a path through the downed trees and power lines.

I really don’t know the number of homes and businesses that were in the dark at the worst of the outage. Suffice it to say more than 100,000 in NW Arkansas alone with hundreds of thousands of others throughout southern Missouri and into western Kentucky.

It was cold, dark, uncomfortable, and a test of patience and resourcefulness.

People with wood stoves and gas-log fireplaces faired pretty well in keeping warm. Outdoor grills and camping stoves provided a means of cooking. Kerosene lanterns, flashlights, and candles were put to good use.

I heard Wal-Mart and other stores were totally out of D-batteries, kerosene, and good old-fashioned telephones that don't need electricity to function. Someone I know couldn’t find a chainsaw for purchase anywhere.

The really lucky people had a portable, gasoline-powered generator to provide electricity for essentials such central heat (electric blower on a gas furnace), refrigerators, lights, and a reasonable quality of life.

I didn’t know anything about generators but I learned a lot in a hurry. In case you’re “in the dark” (pardon the pun), I’ll pass along what I learned.

*Generators are relatively inexpensive and easy to operate. A medium-sized generator (rated between 3000-6000 watts) is sufficient for an average home. It can operate the electric blower on a gas furnace, keep refrigerator(s) cold and lights on. If necessary, it can also power the pump on a water well.

*An electric clothes dryer and a microwave oven might even be possible as long as everything isn’t running at the same time. For instance, once the house is warm, shut that off and switch on the refrigerator.

*If you don’t want to run extension cords all over the house, consider buying a transfer switch. You’ll need an electrician to install that but it really simplifies the process. Then all you need to do is flip switches.

*There’s a ton of information on the Internet – everything from how to figure power surge versus operating wattage to prices and availability. Just Google “portable generators” and start reading.

*Generators must never be run indoors. They must be operated in fresh, outdoor air. (I think we all know that but a safety reminder never hurts.)

Now that the worst is past, I just want to say how impressed I was with the way people banded together to help each other. People with electricity invited family and friends to stay with them. Strangers helped strangers clear roads. The outpouring of mutual support was phenomenal.

It was an adventure that affected everyone, so that now that it's over, the main greeting question is: How long were you without electricity?

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