Report finds it cheaper for most Arkansans to buy homes rather than rent


Arkansas remains one of the less expensive places to live in the country. Even in Northwest Arkansas where median home prices rose 8% year-over-year, Irvine-based RealtyTrac notes that it’s still cheaper to purchase a home than rent.

A new RealtyTrac study found that purchasing a home was more affordable than renting in 291 U.S. counties – or 58% of all counties – including counties that are home to Chicago, Phoenix, Miami, Las Vegas and Detroit. Also included in those findings were the central Arkansas counties of Faulkner, Pulaski and Saline. The Fort Smith and Jonesboro metros were not included in the RealtyTrac report.

“Renters in 2016 will be caught between a bit of a rock and a hard place, with rents becoming less affordable as they rise faster than wages, but home prices rising even faster than rents,” said Daren Blomquist, RealtyTrac vice president. “In markets where home prices are still relatively affordable, 2016 may be a good time for some renters to take the plunge into homeownership before rising prices and possibly rising interest rates make it increasingly tougher to afford to buy a home.”The RealtyTrac study also found that rent is rising across much of the country at levels that exceed wage growth. Home prices also are rising at roughly twice the rate of wages, but some Realtors say home affordability is still possible in markets like Little Rock, Springdale and Fort Smith.