If you’re scratching your head wondering why a city in Arkansas should be on your radar, you haven’t been to Bentonville. Nestled in the Northwest corner of the state, Bentonville’s most iconic claim to fame is that it’s the home of Walmart, the world’s largest retailer. But even apart from its tremendous global economic impact, Bentonville has a lot to offer! Whether you’re a millennial looking for an affordable urban area to live or an investor looking for your next investment, the economics, culture, and real estate opportunities of Bentonville make it a winning choice.
At a population just over 50,000, Bentonville still has a small-town feel, while still providing big city amenities thanks to the Walton family. Bentonville is part of the Northwest Arkansas hub with just over half a million people. Northwest Arkansas doesn’t just call itself home to Walmart, it also calls itself home to J.B. Hunt Transport, University of Arkansas, and Tyson.
Bentonville is leading the charge in economic growth and potential. This hidden gem is projected to have the nation’s third fastest growing economy through 2020. In addition, in 2016 Forbes ranked Northwest Arkansas as the third best medium-sized city in the nation for white-collar job growth, and Fast Company ranked the region second in the nation for supporting minority-owned businesses. Thanks to Walmart, over 1,200 suppliers and vendors have moved to the Bentonville area. The economy in Bentonville is ideal not just for large corporations, but this small-town feel community thrives off small, locally owned businesses as well. The historic downtown square is dotted with locally owned cafes, boutiques, and stores.
Second, to the booming economy, the arts and culture of Bentonville have drawn national attention. Thanks in part to the Walton family, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is a showpiece of architecture & art. Designed by world-renowned architect Moshe Safdie, the 217,000 square-foot museum is home to galleries, meeting rooms, classrooms, and sculpture gardens. Most notably, Crystal Bridges draws exhibitions from famous artists such as Georgia O’Keeffe and Chihuly. In addition to the cultural impact of Crystal Bridges, Bentonville is also home to actress Geena Davis’ annual film festival, Bentonville Film Festival. This annual festival draws the likes of Meg Ryan, David Arquette, and will.i.am. Focusing on inclusion in the arts, the festival aims to promote diversity, a theme welcomed in Bentonville. On a smaller scale, Bentonville hosts frequent art walks and cultural events at the downtown square.
While the economic and cultural aspects of Bentonville are certainly appealing, the booming real estate and housing market have drawn national interests as well. With a cost of living index below the national average, Bentonville is still considered an affordable place to live. For investors looking to capitalize on an opportunity, however, the Bentonville real estate market has seen monumental growth over the last several years. From March 2013 to March 2016, the average home sale price doubled. Even with the growth, the median sales price in 2018 rested just over $270,000 making Bentonville an affordable option. Real estate values in and around the downtown square have seen far more appreciation in recent years with many homes topping the $1,000,000 mark. Part of the housing appeal of Bentonville is the recreational opportunities provided to residents, including a 950-acre park system and 50 miles of trails connecting to five cities.
A Small-Town Vibe
With tremendous economic growth & potential, world-renowned cultural entertainment, and affordable housing, it’s no wonder why Jetsetter put Bentonville on its 2017 list of America’s coolest southern towns. Bentonville offers what many big cities simply can’t: a small town feel while still providing world-class amenities. On a typical weekend in Bentonville, you can stroll the downtown square during farmer’s market, listen to local live music, visit the Walmart Museum and Sam Walton’s old truck, and dine at local street-side cafes- all of this just steps from the world’s largest retailer. With the draw of Walmart, it’s not uncommon to walk into a local flavor restaurant to find a celebrity at the table next to you. But despite the daily multi-million deals happening in Bentonville, it’s charm rests in its quaint feel, old houses, and neighborly disposition.
If Bentonville wasn’t on your radar before, it should be now. Rooted in small-town vibes, this urban gem is home to millennials, families, entrepreneurs, young professionals, millionaires, and retirees. It’s truly a place for everyone – start your search for a home in Bentonville today!