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skirby

Ghost Towns

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Did anyone read the article"After the bubble, ghosts towns across America." ? Starts off in Bentonville and goes from there but a large part deals with NW Arkansas. Is it as bad as the article says? Ghost Towns

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Seems like the NY media seems to have something against NWA. Seems like if I ever read anything negative about our area it's from one of their newspapers. Yeah the area did overdevelop and there is an overabundance of housing. But I don't think it's as bad as it's made out to be in that article. For one honestly I haven't seen prices drop that much at all. You'd think prices would really drop with there being so much housing just sitting around. But I have hardly seen prices drop. While there is an overabundance now it doesn't seem to be worrying that many people. There's still more residential neighborhoods being built. If it was really that bad I don't think you'd see any new housing being built at all. In particular the southern part of the metro still seems to be building houses at a pretty good rate.

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Did anyone read the article"After the bubble, ghosts towns across America." ? Starts off in Bentonville and goes from there but a large part deals with NW Arkansas. Is it as bad as the article says? Ghost Towns

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Could you check the link Skirby? I can't get it to come up for some reason.

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Could you check the link Skirby? I can't get it to come up for some reason.

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I've seen several versions on the web. Here's the link from today's Wall Street Journal on Northwest Arkansas real estate, as seen on Yahoo Finance:

http://finance.yahoo.com/real-estate/artic...-Across-America

Some quotes include: "In overdeveloped Northwest Arkansas, real-estate officials estimate that property values have been steadily declining since 2007. Early in the decade, the region saw a population explosion as more than 1,000 people a month moved to Bentonville, Rogers and several nearby communities to work for Wal-Mart or one of its 1,250 locally based suppliers. Developers began building new houses at a frantic pace, carving up sprawling farmland into fancy developments with names like Stone Meadow and Kensington Hills.

Then the housing market collapsed. Soon developers were defaulting on their loans and declaring bankruptcy. In May, federal regulators seized one Northwest Arkansas lender, ANB Financial, whose portfolio was overloaded with bad construction loans.

Dennis Pflueger and his wife won a rent-free year in a nice new house in an expensive subdivision in Bentonville, Arkansas, not far from the headquarters of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. As part of the prize, they then have the option to buy the four-bedroom home for $452,000.

Mr. Pflueger, a telephone-cable installer who describes himself as an "old redneck," is in the middle of his free year. But the Pfluegers are a bit lonely. Just one other family lives in any of the 28 new or unfinished houses on Foxboro Court. Up the street, a sign announcing "Elegant Homes" sits on a lot choked with weeds. The block is as quiet as an old ghost town.

Since Northwest Arkansas real-estate tanked, many new planned communities across the region are half-empty, with for-sale signs outnumbering residents by a large margin.

Now, many of the region's new subdivisions, with houses that can't be rented, much less sold, are forlorn monuments to disastrous real-estate forecasting. A subdivision called Tuscany, five miles west of Bentonville, was envisioned as an enclave of luxury homes with landscaping meant to evoke an old-world Italian village. Developers installed an enormous hand-built stone wall surrounding several hundred acres of what had been cow pasture. So far, only five houses have been built, and just two sold.

Carol Trees, who paid $570,000 for a 4,800-square-foot house six months ago, admits the solitude is a bit disconcerting. The good news is that her three children have the run of a pasture longer than several football fields. "We love it right now," says Mrs. Trees, a nurse practitioner. "We sit on our back porch and fantasize that we own all this land."

Then there's Quail Ridge, the temporary home of Mr. Pflueger, his wife, Joyce, and their 11-year-old Chihuahua, Peaches.

Real Estate Company of Arkansas, a local outfit, had been so eager to sell units that it raffled off a year's free rent for one house. On a cold weekend afternoon last December, more than 1,000 people showed up at the subdivision in hopes of winning the prize.

As a marketing effort, the event was a total bust. "We didn't sell one house," real-estate agent Michael McKinnon says. "We didn't get diddly."

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"Daily life in these developments seems a bit post-cataclysmic" ???? Talk about hyperbole- that reporter should be writing romance novels or some other drama type stories. He forgot to mention that the area is still growing at a very healthy rate and that Walmart is having a great resurgence in growth itself. The oversupply is mainly in the higher dollar properties- the lower priced houses and apartments are still being built and selling well. I get the feeling that the article to an extent was a Walmart bashing disguised as a real estate story.

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I don't see anything offensive about NWA in this article. It is simply using NWA as an example of what is symptomatic throughout the rest of the country; namely, that overpriced Mcmansion-ville neighborhoods aren't doing well anywhere. The article mentions other areas, even though NWA does get most of the attention. I view it as a sign of the area's rising profile on the national radar. You know what they say, bad press is better than no press at all.

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I don't see anything offensive about NWA in this article. It is simply using NWA as an example of what is symptomatic throughout the rest of the country; namely, that overpriced Mcmansion-ville neighborhoods aren't doing well anywhere. The article mentions other areas, even though NWA does get most of the attention. I view it as a sign of the area's rising profile on the national radar. You know what they say, bad press is better than no press at all.

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I don't see anything offensive about NWA in this article. It is simply using NWA as an example of what is symptomatic throughout the rest of the country; namely, that overpriced Mcmansion-ville neighborhoods aren't doing well anywhere. The article mentions other areas, even though NWA does get most of the attention. I view it as a sign of the area's rising profile on the national radar. You know what they say, bad press is better than no press at all.

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I see your point. But those other places were only mentioned. Just seems like the NY media really have it in for us or something. This is the third negative article I've read from the NY media in the past year or so. Just seems like they rarely have anything good to say. I also just don't think the picture they portrayed in their article is accurate. But as we do move up on 'nations' radar' we do have to expect to get some negative attention.

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I can't say the article is overly positive, but I don't think its inaccurate either as jiggyK states. Having driven around recently up in B'ville a lot has not been happening since I left a year ago. I've seen the vacant subdivisions, its true. Folks with the city will tell you things have come to a near screaching hault.

I can really only comment about B'ville. I can tell a lot has been happening in Fayetteville since I left.

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I haven't read any of the other negative NY media articles about the region. Are the pieces you're referring to still online? If so, perhaps you could provide a link? I've read mostly positive things about the region in the media, honestly, then there was the "Green Valley" write up in the Washington Post that was more than flattering.

Also, I don't think they were over stating the housing woes of the area. I know that giant wall that was mentioned in the article near Goshen and nothing is happening there, or in any of the many other developments that were carved up during the boom. It is widely said by realtors that there is a 5 to 9 year over supply of housing in Washington and Benton counties. ANB did have to close down due primarily to the fact that they invested too heavily in builders who had to default on their loans because no one was buying the homes they built. I know folks are still buying houses in NWA, but just at a slower pace, as is the case in most of the country. I just know it will be nice when the "slow down" has passed and the economy starts a healthy expansion.

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"Daily life in these developments seems a bit post-cataclysmic" ???? Talk about hyperbole- that reporter should be writing romance novels or some other drama type stories. He forgot to mention that the area is still growing at a very healthy rate and that Walmart is having a great resurgence in growth itself. The oversupply is mainly in the higher dollar properties- the lower priced houses and apartments are still being built and selling well. I get the feeling that the article to an extent was a Walmart bashing disguised as a real estate story.

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The issue is not price of the housing. Everyone seems to look at housing by price category. But that is the wrong way to look at it. My house at 413 N. Willow set a new record at $280 sq. foot--$555K for 1960 square feet. The buyer paid cash and could have afforded more but chose not to spend it on housing. In the last 4-6 weeks I can tell you about six or so houses in Washington-Willow and Wilson park that sold for $400-$500K. The ugly subdivision houses that are pretentious neo-Dallas castles will not sell here or elsewhere unless dramatically discounted. There are too many of them and you have to drive to do anything. The market is splitting into two pots--Walk to town and university, and everything else. One will go up, the other down. That's what I am seeing at least.

Mark

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