Realtor analyzes housing market impacts of Walmart employees relocation

In addition to laying off hundreds of jobs, Walmart is asking some of its work-from-home employees to relocate.

The three locations they are asking employees to move to are Hoboken, Southern California or the headquarters in Bentonville. With the influx in people coming to Northwest Arkansas, Mike Duley, the chairman of Keller Williams Market Pro Realty in Northwest Arkansas, said this could affect the number of short-term rental properties being utilized before committing to a long-term home.

“Maybe one partner or one spouse might move here first, and then figure out, ‘OK, what schools do we want to be?’” Duley said. “‘What zone do we want to be? What do we like doing? Do we like biking? Do we like being closer to the university?’”

Duley described Northwest Arkansas as a traditional housing market that follows an annual bell curve. He said the average price of a home in 2016 in Northwest Arkansas was $225,000 — a number that has climbed to more than $400,000.

Duley thinks the increase in population impacts the housing market depending on the price range a buyer is looking for.

He’s no stranger to relocating for work though, moving to Northwest Arkansas from Florida in 2006.

“I had only envisioned living here for 18 months and relocating back to Florida,” Duley said. “I met my beautiful Arkansas bride, and she said, ‘We’re living here forever,’ so I said, ‘Yes ma’am.’”

He said the small-town community feel of Northwest Arkansas makes the transition for newcomers a little bit easier. He guessed that 15% of current residents have lived here their entire lives, estimating a majority have moved here from somewhere else. Duley said this may make it easier to make new friends upon arrival.

Duley reminded new buyers that home values in Northwest Arkansas may be surprising when compared to the rest of the state.

“I think it’s going to be something where they go, ‘Oh, I thought I could get a larger house or more of a yard,’” Duley said. “They might realize that’s not the case in Northwest Arkansas, so you might see some different decisions being made.”