Why is housing so high in Arkadelphia?


Lance Brownfield

Housing in Arkadelphia has stayed in high demand throughout the pandemic as more people move to the town from out of state to work remotely.

According to bestplaces.net, Arkadelphia’s median home cost is 60% higher than nearby Malvern. College students may have to deal with expensive housing for a few years while they study here, but for long term residents there is no end in sight.

“Property conditions are better here,” said Kim Byrd, a realtor at Crye-Leike Realty. “We have two colleges which keep our demand greater and I think the community has more to offer. That always correlates with the prices of property.”

Cory and Kelly Styles have lived in Arkadelphia for two years while Kelly finished her studies at Henderson (and worked at the Oracle) and they now pay $625 monthly for a 890 square foot apartment. Before moving to Matt Stone Apartments, they lived in a 450 square foot rental house and paid $500 per month in rent. That is over a dollar per square foot.

It is typically cheaper to buy a house than to rent an apartment and doing so helps to build equity whereas renting does not. While some areas are cheaper than others in Arkadelphia, the town is generally consistent in prices with a median home price of around $140 thousand.

“It all comes down to the price per square foot when buying a home,” said Byrd. “With the pandemic, it created a shortage on housing and that created a demand for housing. So right now property values are really really good.”

Since the pandemic began, there has been a sharp increase in out-of-staters moving to the town. Byrd says that she sees the trend slowing down as more homes go on the market and the demand reaches a plateau.

People from California, Michigan and every corner of the country have flocked to the town because their work has become remote. They can buy a home in Arkadelphia for much cheaper than other parts of the country and it offers so much with the universities, recreation and its proximity to Hot Springs.

Arkadelphia is slightly cheaper than Benton/Bryant and Hot Springs, which are significantly bigger areas. On a housing prices index by bestplaces.net, Arkadelphia comes in at a 60.8, while Hot Springs scores a 62.2 with 100 being the national average.

On the horizon is a new subdivision on Malone Drive to accommodate Arkadelphia’s new citizens as the town continues to grow. The groundbreaking is set for the end of July or the beginning of August. This may help stabilize housing prices, but is unlikely to bring them down.