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Economic Trends in NWA

Economic downturn   45 members have voted

  1. 1. How would you attribute the recent downturn in the metro?

    • The growth in NWA was overhyped.
      16
    • The metro has overbuilt it's infrastructure.
      8
    • A pause in growth that will pick back up in a few years.
      14
    • Just a minor issue like higher gas/food costs and the market making a slight correction.
      5
    • I don't see much of a slowdown.
      2

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83 posts in this topic

There's been a lot of talk of things slowing down. But I'm curious to see what people think of it. Is this just something temporary? Or are the boom years a thing of the past? Overall the metro seems to be slowing down on growth. But looking at it at a smaller scale Benton County still seems to be growing but Washington County is declining and bringing the overall metro down slightly.

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I don't really know what to answer. First, I'm not sure if there's a real slowdown or if it's just overbuilt like every other fast-growing area in America. If there is a slowdown in population growth I would attribute it to a slowing of growth at Wal-Mart and Tyson which are reaching the limits of how large they can be and instead of a boom we'll see slower but steady growth. I don't by any means see NWA growth flattening out, just being more moderate.

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I don't really know what to answer. First, I'm not sure if there's a real slowdown or if it's just overbuilt like every other fast-growing area in America. If there is a slowdown in population growth I would attribute it to a slowing of growth at Wal-Mart and Tyson which are reaching the limits of how large they can be and instead of a boom we'll see slower but steady growth. I don't by any means see NWA growth flattening out, just being more moderate.

I guess I was basing a lot of it on sales tax revenues. But I think people have noticed a number of developments that have fallen through as well. But as far as I know I think the population is still increasing at around the same rate.

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I guess I was basing a lot of it on sales tax revenues. But I think people have noticed a number of developments that have fallen through as well. But as far as I know I think the population is still increasing at around the same rate.

Is there really a drop in sales tax revenue overall? I know Wash Co revenue was slightly down but I attributed that to Pinnacle Promenade and all of the restaurants in Benton Co, I assumed NWA as a whole was doing well. That tax revenue shift was predictable, I think.

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Is there really a drop in sales tax revenue overall? I know Wash Co revenue was slightly down but I attributed that to Pinnacle Promenade and all of the restaurants in Benton Co, I assumed NWA as a whole was doing well. That tax revenue shift was predictable, I think.

Taking in both counties there's an overall decrease. Benton County has been having increases. But Washington County's has been canceling it out causing the whole metro to be slightly down. So it's just not everyone shopping in Benton County instead of Washington County. I've heard some say it's just the fact of the rising cost of gas and food. To the more negative as in the metro is slowing down and the boom is over.

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Taking in both counties there's an overall decrease. Benton County has been having increases. But Washington County's has been canceling it out causing the whole metro to be slightly down. So it's just not everyone shopping in Benton County instead of Washington County. I've heard some say it's just the fact of the rising cost of gas and food. To the more negative as in the metro is slowing down and the boom is over.

Hmm, I didn't know that. That's tough to explain. Rising prices should increase taxes, even if people are more reserved with spending there shouldn't be a drop. I need an economist to explain this one to me.

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That 2nd one "The metro has overbuilt it's infrastructure" made me laugh. It's just the opposite IMO. My guess is all the construction and bottlenecked roads are part of the reason the boom is going bust. Some veteran businesses have closed simply because of road construction. Let's just hope when some of the major road improvements are completed there will still be a need for them. Taxes, gas prices and grocery prices are also good factors, but not likely primary reasons for the slow down.

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Taking in both counties there's an overall decrease. Benton County has been having increases. But Washington County's has been canceling it out causing the whole metro to be slightly down. So it's just not everyone shopping in Benton County instead of Washington County. I've heard some say it's just the fact of the rising cost of gas and food. To the more negative as in the metro is slowing down and the boom is over.

My shade tree economist theory is that when the Shoppes and Promenade opened there was a huge buzz that brought people from a much wider area and inflated the sales tax take. Now that the buzz has died down somewhat and it's more of a just local shopping area, Benton County's increase is due mostly to Washington's loss and the overall decrease is due to those shoppers from further out having went back to their local shopping areas. Make sense??

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None of those really apply. The metro hasn't slowed down, it's just overbuilt as far as too many houses of the same quality and price. We're still growing.

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Rising cost of living such as gas prices, grocery prices, utility costs, etc. is most likely making most people more thrifty than they've been in the past few years. Benton County's continuous rapid growth in population and retail, restaurants and services is the reason there is a continuous increase in tax revenue in Benton County. Washington County isn't growing as fast in any of those categories, hence the continuous decreases.

Washington County's loss is is due mostly to Benton County's increases. I believe Benton County will only continue to have more and more increases which may not be very healthy for Washington County.

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My shade tree economist theory is that when the Shoppes and Promenade opened there was a huge buzz that brought people from a much wider area and inflated the sales tax take. Now that the buzz has died down somewhat and it's more of a just local shopping area, Benton County's increase is due mostly to Washington's loss and the overall decrease is due to those shoppers from further out having went back to their local shopping areas. Make sense??

I do see what you're saying. But I think this over all decrease has caught a number of people by surprise.

None of those really apply. The metro hasn't slowed down, it's just overbuilt as far as too many houses of the same quality and price. We're still growing.

Sorry, perhaps I should have worded everything a bit better.

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Rising cost of living such as gas prices, grocery prices, utility costs, etc. is most likely making most people more thrifty than they've been in the past few years. Benton County's continuous rapid growth in population and retail, restaurants and services is the reason there is a continuous increase in tax revenue in Benton County. Washington County isn't growing as fast in any of those categories, hence the continuous decreases.

Washington County's loss is is due mostly to Benton County's increases. I believe Benton County will only continue to have more and more increases which may not be very healthy for Washington County.

Yes I have heard that theory as well. I often hear how gas and food prices have increased. Although the sales tax on food has dropped the actual cost of the food itself has been going up quite a bit the past 6 months. And with so many people living the 'suburban' style of life that also means a lot of gas. So overall people are spending less on other items therefore we're getting smaller sales tax revenue. But yes Benton County's revenue will continue to grow because in the past everyone had to go do to Washington County to do so much. Now not only does Washington County have to get used to that there's also probably a number of Washington County people heading to Benton County to shop. But as I said before Washington County's revenue is decreasing faster than Benton County's increase. So money is going to somewhere else.

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Rising cost of living such as gas prices, grocery prices, utility costs, etc. is most likely making most people more thrifty than they've been in the past few years. Benton County's continuous rapid growth in population and retail, restaurants and services is the reason there is a continuous increase in tax revenue in Benton County. Washington County isn't growing as fast in any of those categories, hence the continuous decreases.

Washington County's loss is is due mostly to Benton County's increases. I believe Benton County will only continue to have more and more increases which may not be very healthy for Washington County.

I thought the only issue was that tax revenues were down in Washington County, and that home sales were down in Benton County. How does this equal anything resembling a change in economic trend. So they over built Benton County and Fayetteville isn't the only place to shop anymore. Benton County's issue is bad developers and Washington County's is competition. All of which will work themselves out in the next few years or maybe even months.

Competition is healthy for Fayetteville, It makes everyone try a little harder, at least it should. And the developers that are going belly up in Benton County did so because they ran bad companies. People were able to get away with these bad decisions during our peak, now they just have to be smart with things.

Another point, While Washington Countys sales tax went down Benton County's went up. And as home sales went down in Benton County, Washington County's went up. Now if we could just get some new industry to the area!

Edited by NWAboom

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We really slowed down because of the overbuilding. I have spoken with numerous realtors and each has told me that there are still over 1,000 people moving to the area per month. So the population has not been decreasing. I think the markets will correct in a year and we will see construction start to pick back up.

Also, Fayetteville is about to get a new movie theater near the mall. This combined with new restaurants will help keep some people here in Fayetteville. I think a lot of people like the new amenities such as the new movie theaters in Benton County. Plus they go eat before or afterwards spurring more restaurant growth. That could change some when the new Fayetteville theater opens. I still don't see that many differences in the two malls between the areas. They are almost identical, except one is newer. They have the exact same department stores as well. Really, General Growth should have put in a mix of NEW department stores so we would have a good mix in the area. Just my two cents.

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Personally, I think Springdale is killing the Washington Co. tax numbers. Fayetteville is down on the year, but they have the heart of their tourist season still coming up, along with the theater and Sam's about to open. I don't see a similar bounce on the immediate horizon for Springdale.

Springdale's infrastructure is horrible and well behind schedule (surprise, surprise), what they have done with the high school is a disgrace that will split the growth areas of that town for the next few decades that will divide along the school district lines. What they have done in Springdale is make half the town unattractive to new arrivals and commercial development because of where people will want to send their kids to high school. The infrastructure and the demographic split of the town is going to continue to have a adverse effect on the city growth and therefore tax revenue for years.

What happened to Little Rock Central and the surrounding area because of "white flight" is a sad, ongoing chapter in Little Rock's history, and I don't see anything different about what is going to happen (and what is happening) to a once-proud school like Springdale High.

Seems like everyone missed the fact Washington Co.'s home sales were actually up year over year in May, only by 2.1 percent, but one of the only counties in the state to show increase. Even in Benton Co., the decline was 14.4 percent but they still sold almost 400 houses for the month.

I think one area no one seems to talk about much is the health care industry. NWA still lacks many services or doesn't have enough specialists in certain fields. Medical office space has very low vacancy rates and I think there will be some tremendous growth in this sector over the next few years as everyone needs health care. This kind of growth also represents high paying jobs for the area that will boost tax revenue and home sales.

Overall, I think the area economy is going to be fine. A stable, slow-growing market is far healthier in the long run.

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I thought the only issue was that tax revenues were down in Washington County, and that home sales were down in Benton County. How does this equal anything resembling a change in economic trend. So they over built Benton County and Fayetteville isn't the only place to shop anymore. Benton County's issue is bad developers and Washington County's is competition. All of which will work themselves out in the next few years or maybe even months.

Competition is healthy for Fayetteville, It makes everyone try a little harder, at least it should. And the developers that are going belly up in Benton County did so because they ran bad companies. People were able to get away with these bad decisions during our peak, now they just have to be smart with things.

Another point, While Washington Countys sales tax went down Benton County's went up. And as home sales went down in Benton County, Washington County's went up. Now if we could just get some new industry to the area!

Nice way to look at it. :D

We really slowed down because of the overbuilding. I have spoken with numerous realtors and each has told me that there are still over 1,000 people moving to the area per month. So the population has not been decreasing. I think the markets will correct in a year and we will see construction start to pick back up.

Also, Fayetteville is about to get a new movie theater near the mall. This combined with new restaurants will help keep some people here in Fayetteville. I think a lot of people like the new amenities such as the new movie theaters in Benton County. Plus they go eat before or afterwards spurring more restaurant growth. That could change some when the new Fayetteville theater opens. I still don't see that many differences in the two malls between the areas. They are almost identical, except one is newer. They have the exact same department stores as well. Really, General Growth should have put in a mix of NEW department stores so we would have a good mix in the area. Just my two cents.

True, although Fayetteville has lost a few restaurants recently also.

Personally, I think Springdale is killing the Washington Co. tax numbers. Fayetteville is down on the year, but they have the heart of their tourist season still coming up, along with the theater and Sam's about to open. I don't see a similar bounce on the immediate horizon for Springdale.

Springdale's infrastructure is horrible and well behind schedule (surprise, surprise), what they have done with the high school is a disgrace that will split the growth areas of that town for the next few decades that will divide along the school district lines. What they have done in Springdale is make half the town unattractive to new arrivals and commercial development because of where people will want to send their kids to high school. The infrastructure and the demographic split of the town is going to continue to have a adverse effect on the city growth and therefore tax revenue for years.

What happened to Little Rock Central and the surrounding area because of "white flight" is a sad, ongoing chapter in Little Rock's history, and I don't see anything different about what is going to happen (and what is happening) to a once-proud school like Springdale High.

Seems like everyone missed the fact Washington Co.'s home sales were actually up year over year in May, only by 2.1 percent, but one of the only counties in the state to show increase. Even in Benton Co., the decline was 14.4 percent but they still sold almost 400 houses for the month.

I think one area no one seems to talk about much is the health care industry. NWA still lacks many services or doesn't have enough specialists in certain fields. Medical office space has very low vacancy rates and I think there will be some tremendous growth in this sector over the next few years as everyone needs health care. This kind of growth also represents high paying jobs for the area that will boost tax revenue and home sales.

Overall, I think the area economy is going to be fine. A stable, slow-growing market is far healthier in the long run.

Thanks for that perspective. The other bad thing about Springdale is that it will soon be losing the revenue from Sam's as well. Although it will be staying in Washington County, just coming down to Fayetteville. At least Springdale has the baseball field and new arts center. Otherwise it would be looking even more bleak for Springdale.

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I suppose another factor is that we've seen a number of developments fall through. Although to be honest I think it is rather normal. In larger markets it happens all the time but because there are more going on you don't seem to notice it as much. But I do think people seeing some of these projects stall or fall through has made some concerned that things are slowing down.

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Personally, I think Springdale is killing the Washington Co. tax numbers. Fayetteville is down on the year, but they have the heart of their tourist season still coming up, along with the theater and Sam's about to open. I don't see a similar bounce on the immediate horizon for Springdale.

Springdale's infrastructure is horrible and well behind schedule (surprise, surprise), what they have done with the high school is a disgrace that will split the growth areas of that town for the next few decades that will divide along the school district lines. What they have done in Springdale is make half the town unattractive to new arrivals and commercial development because of where people will want to send their kids to high school. The infrastructure and the demographic split of the town is going to continue to have a adverse effect on the city growth and therefore tax revenue for years.

What happened to Little Rock Central and the surrounding area because of "white flight" is a sad, ongoing chapter in Little Rock's history, and I don't see anything different about what is going to happen (and what is happening) to a once-proud school like Springdale High.

Seems like everyone missed the fact Washington Co.'s home sales were actually up year over year in May, only by 2.1 percent, but one of the only counties in the state to show increase. Even in Benton Co., the decline was 14.4 percent but they still sold almost 400 houses for the month.

I think one area no one seems to talk about much is the health care industry. NWA still lacks many services or doesn't have enough specialists in certain fields. Medical office space has very low vacancy rates and I think there will be some tremendous growth in this sector over the next few years as everyone needs health care. This kind of growth also represents high paying jobs for the area that will boost tax revenue and home sales.

Overall, I think the area economy is going to be fine. A stable, slow-growing market is far healthier in the long run.

I think that Central HS comparison is a pretty loose association. I'd liken it more to what happened in Hot Springs, though they split school districts along racial lines instead of just schools. Fort Smith split their high schools along racial and economic lines as well.

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I think that Central HS comparison is a pretty loose association. I'd liken it more to what happened in Hot Springs, though they split school districts along racial lines instead of just schools. Fort Smith split their high schools along racial and economic lines as well.

I have heard that about Ft Smith. But I wasn't aware of Hot Springs. I wonder if this is happening in Rogers now as well. There does seem to be a big difference in the city itself between west Rogers and east Rogers.

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I think that Central HS comparison is a pretty loose association. I'd liken it more to what happened in Hot Springs, though they split school districts along racial lines instead of just schools. Fort Smith split their high schools along racial and economic lines as well.

it is a loose comparison, sure, but there is no doubt white flight has negative long term consequences for the cities where it happens since it is usually historic, central areas that are abandoned in favor of the outskirts which then require new infrastructure and diverting resources from older parts of town. it is already happening in Springdale, although I do find it somewhat amusing that with all the shiny equipment and computer labs that Har-ber could still do no better than 24 percent proficient in Algebra I.

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it is a loose comparison, sure, but there is no doubt white flight has negative long term consequences for the cities where it happens since it is usually historic, central areas that are abandoned in favor of the outskirts which then require new infrastructure and diverting resources from older parts of town. it is already happening in Springdale, although I do find it somewhat amusing that with all the shiny equipment and computer labs that Har-ber could still do no better than 24 percent proficient in Algebra I.

I guess my point is that many if not most people consider Central the best HS in the state, so it's a different animal. I totally agree with your point about Springdale splitting schools and worry a bit that Rogers will make the same mistake.

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I have heard that about Ft Smith. But I wasn't aware of Hot Springs. I wonder if this is happening in Rogers now as well. There does seem to be a big difference in the city itself between west Rogers and east Rogers.

If you live in Hot Springs you are in one of two school districts - Hot Springs Lakeside or Hot Springs. The HS Lakeside schools are virtually all white, affluent, and have some of the highest test scores in the state. Hot Springs schools are some of the worst and are largely minority. Unlike Ft Smith the school district boundaries are bizarre - specifically designed to incorporate all of the affluent areas.

Lake Hamilton also has solid schools, much better than HS itself, but it's always been a separate district so it's hard to critique them.

I see this happening in Rogers and find it concerning as well. I have family there that switched their son's middle school because he was in a class with mostly non-English speaking kids. I'm sure that's becoming a trend, to flee that. I expect Bentonville to grow a lot because of this.

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I guess my point is that many if not most people consider Central the best HS in the state, so it's a different animal.

That's absolutely true, and it produced some of the most well-rounded people I know because of their experiences in a mixed ethnic environment. Of course there was no language barrier as we are facing here in NWA. The lack of understanding and trust between the cultures is growing, not shrinking, and running from the problem by building new high schools and farflung subdivisions is not the answer.

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That's absolutely true, and it produced some of the most well-rounded people I know because of their experiences in a mixed ethnic environment. Of course there was no language barrier as we are facing here in NWA. The lack of understanding and trust between the cultures is growing, not shrinking, and running from the problem by building new high schools and farflung subdivisions is not the answer.

Well put, I agree.

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Here's an interesting tidbit- in today's ADG Business Matters there were reported 85 single family home building permits issued the week of July 16-20 in the Big 4 citites in NWA. In Bentonville alone, 41 were issued. This isn't unusual as each week I've seen numbers close to that total. Granted most are for less than $175,000 but the amount of activity seems to run against the common view that there is a major slowdown in the local economy.

I guess it could indicate that this one segment of housing is still in demand and higher dollar housing and commercial is down, but it is a good sign that things aren't quite as bad as some people want to think.

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