NW Ark. economic picture mixed | Arkansas Blog

Friday, August 4, 2006

NW Ark. economic picture mixed

Posted By on Fri, Aug 4, 2006 at 9:22 AM

The top economic researcher at UofA's Walton College of Business, Jeff Collinstalks cautiously about the Northwest Arkansas economy.

A University of Arkansas at Fayetteville economist painted stagnant wages, higher interest rates and gas prices, along with an oversupplied residential housing market, into Northwest Arkansas’ second-quarter picture. ...

Northwest Arkansas’ economy has been positive on most fronts. Collins based his comments on the upward-trending employment figures and housing stock numbers for the region.

But how well the region maintains its prosperity will depend, in part, on the effects of higher gas prices and interest rates.

“Over the next couple of quarters, we’ll have to see how much of a lasting effect higher energy prices and interest rates will have,” he said.

On the consumer side, rising interest rates tend to slow home-buying since some buyers cannot afford a more expensive property and others delay purchases, Collins said.

However, on housing’s supply side, the second quarter brought a slowdown. Home builders saw the amount of unoccupied housing increase a modest 5.5 percent in Washington County compared with 127 percent in Benton County in the year-over-year comparison, UA data showed.

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