NWA residential building roars back in 2021

by Paul Gatling ([email protected]) 1,748 views 

After declining years in 2019 and 2020, residential building permits in Northwest Arkansas’ four largest cities bounced back significantly in 2021.

According to permit data from each city collected by the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal, there were 1,764 residential permits issued last year in Bentonville, Fayetteville, Rogers and Springdale. That’s up 16.5% from 2020 (1,514) as homebuilders play catch-up on supplying homes for the tight homebuyer market.

The double-digit increase was a big turnaround from a year ago when 2020 permit activity declined 2.8% compared with 2019. Residential building permits were down 5.9% from 2018 to 2019 in the region’s four largest cities.

Residential building permit values in 2021 were up a whopping 35.6%, from $426.49 million in 2020 to $578.61 million last year.

Bentonville, Fayetteville, and Rogers issued more permits last year than in 2020. The annual report comparison for each city was:

  • Fayetteville: 657 permits, $181.41 million (2021); 443 permits, $129.82 million (2020).
  • Rogers: 470 permits, $161.66 million (2021); 410 permits, $109.75 million (2020).
  • Bentonville: 411 permits, $158.77 million (2021); 402 permits, $121.16 million (2020).
  • Springdale: 226 permits, $76.77 million (2021); 259, $65.76 million (2020).

The residential construction boom in Bella Vista continued last year. The city issued 584 permits valued at $140 million in 2021. That’s up 40% from 416 permits issued in 2020, with a combined value of $108 million.

Residential permits in Bella Vista have climbed from 194 in 2017, 262 in 2018 and 278 in 2019. Various factors influence the boom, including the availability of affordable lots and the opening in May 2017 of Highway 549, known as the Bella Vista Bypass, which has affected more interest in the city from homebuilders, particularly on the west side.

The permit trends in Farmington are even stronger. City officials issued 429 single-family building permits in 2021 valued at $112.2 million. That’s up sharply from 124 permits and $45.2 million in 2020.

Farmington Mayor Ernie Penn said builders are active in 10 new subdivisions in the city limits over the past two years.

“People want to move to Farmington and [want] their kids to go to Farmington schools,” he said.