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The Average Cost of Living In Arkansas: An In-Depth Guide

Arkansas has an overall low cost of living, especially when it comes to housing. But homeowners insurance and transportation costs can be significant expenses, making the state a mixed bag when it comes to affordability.
Arkansas has an overall low cost of living, especially when it comes to housing. But homeowners insurance and transportation costs can be significant expenses, making the state a mixed bag when it comes to affordability.

Arkansas is nicknamed The Natural State and it has all the breathtaking forests, lakes, bayous, and national parks that name implies. Hot Springs National Park is one of the most picturesque parks in the entire south, and the Crater of Diamonds State Park is the only park in the nation where you could realistically find a diamond.

But there’s more to Arkansas than just parks and nice views. It’s one of the more affordable states in the U.S., with a stable economy that’s home to Wal-Mart, the world’s largest company.

Let’s take a closer look at just how affordable Arkansas actually is.

Typical Home Prices in Arkansas in 2019

Home prices in Arkansas are extremely affordable. The average home value in Arkansas is $126,600, which is more than $100,000 cheaper than the national average home value.

The good news doesn’t stop there. Home prices in Arkansas have risen by 4.5% over the past 12 months, according to Zillow, and are projected to rise a further 2.5% over the next year, when many major markets are projecting flat growth or even a slight decline. The Arkansas housing market has the rare trifecta of low prices, great recent appreciation, and a strong forecast for the future.

The market’s equally rosy for renters. The average monthly rent in Arkansas is $967, which is significantly cheaper than the national average rent of $1,488.

How Much Are Arkansas Property Taxes?

Property taxes can be a confusing and intimidating issue for homeowners, but they’re not actually that difficult to estimate. As in most states and municipalities, Arkansas bases the amount of property tax you owe on how much your home is worth.

You simply take that assessed value of your home and multiply that by the local tax rate, which is sometimes referred to as the “mill rate.” One mill equals one-tenth of a cent, which comes to one dollar per $1,000 of your property’s assessed value.

Residents of Arkansas are fortunate to have one of the lowest property tax rates in the country. According to SmartAsset, an impressive 68 out of the state’s 75 counties averages less than $800 in property taxes a year. Statewide, the average property tax rate is 0.63%, making it the 9th lowest state tax rate in the U.S.

How does that translate to real-world numbers? An average Arkansas house, with a value of $126,600, would be responsible for an annual property tax bill of approximately $797.

Average Homeowners Insurance in Arkansas

Homeowners insurance is about one thing: risk, and protecting homeowners against that risk. The insurance company handling your policy will look at a variety of factors affecting your home, from the age and condition, to the building materials, to the location, and assess your home’s vulnerability to damage, before setting your insurance rate.

So homes that are old, have structural questions, or are located in flood plains or in hurricane-prone coastal areas will have relatively high homeowners insurance rates, while newer, sturdier homes, and homes located in areas that don’t see much extreme or destructive weather will have lower insurance rates.

In Arkansas, the average homeowner will pay about $2,000 a year for homeowners insurance thanks to the risk of flooding from the Mississippi River and a high number of tornadoes.

Common Home Maintenance and Repair Costs in Arkansas

The general rule for home maintenance is that a homeowner should expect to spend 1% of their home’s value, each year, on upkeep and repairs. This should be an adequate amount in Arkansas, but there’s still the question of what, exactly, you’re going to spend it on.

Arkansas is known for its pine trees, and it’s quite common, during one of the state’s many seasonal storms, for homes to be damaged by falling trees. If you have mature trees on your property, you’ll want to have them regularly pruned and topped, to protect your home from damage. And if your trees become damaged, or die naturally, you’ll want to have them cut down and removed.

In a state with as many storms as Arkansas, you’ll also want to maintain the condition of your home’s roof. Asphalt shingles are the most common roofing material in Arkansas, and they require annual monitoring and replacement, if they become damaged. If you fail to maintain your shingles, and leaks or fissures form in your roof, a typical roof repair can cost you up to $10,000.

Other Costs of Living in Arkansas to Consider

Arkansas is a sparsely populated state, and outside the capital of Little Rock, there are very limited options for public transportation. That means you’ll likely have to drive everywhere in Arkansas, and that can add up quickly.

For example, Arkansas may have the 10th shortest commute in the nation, but residents still spend over 21 minutes, each way, commuting to and from their job each day. That’s nearly three-quarters of an hour, every day, of driving. Compared to a place like New York City, where the subway is fast and inexpensive, transportation costs in Arkansas can be quite high.

If you live near the Mississippi River, which forms the eastern border of the state, you may be in a flood-prone area. You’ll want to purchase flood insurance, which is generally sold separately from regular homeowners insurance, and if there is a flood, you’ll have to spend money to remediate the damage.

Find a Top Arkansas Real Estate Agent

If you’ve decided to take advantage of Arkansas’ great housing market and stellar quality of life, your first step should be to connect with a great local real estate agent. An experienced agent will know all the properties that are currently for sale in their market and will be able to advise you on everything from putting in an offer, to negotiating, to closing.

Clever Partner Agents are top performers in their respective markets, with long, proven track records. They’ll use every tool in the business to help you find your dream home, from on-demand showings to timing the market. Whether you’re looking for a stately townhouse in Little Rock or a modern condo in Fayetteville, they can help you find your ideal property in Arkansas.

Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation!

 

 

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Jamie Ayers

Jamie is the Director of Content at Clever Real Estate, the free online service that connects you with top real estate agents and helps you save thousands on commission. In the past, Jamie has managed columns for clients in a variety of leading business publications, including Forbes, Inc., CEO World, Entrepreneur, and more. At Clever, Jamie's primary goal is to provide home sellers, buyers, and investors with the information they need to successfully navigate the ins and outs of the real estate industry.

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