Growth in rental housing has far outpaced growth in the housing market in recent years in Central Arkansas and that’s likely to continue, according to a new report by Metroplan, the regional planning organization. Three percent fewer people in the region (i.e., the six counties that comprise the Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway metropolitan statistical area) owned homes in 2014 than they did in 2010; nationally, 1.2 percent do. Meanwhile, rental housing has grown by 7 percent in Central Arkansas and 9 percent nationally. 

From the report:

Stricter financial regulation in recent years has hurt first-time homebuyers, already burdened by slow income growth since the Great Recession. Prospective homeowners now must typically put up 20 percent of the value as a down payment. This has weakened home-buying demand. Generational factors count, too. Today’s young adults—the Millennial Generation—have been less willing, or less able, to buy their first homes than Generation X or the Baby Boom groups that preceded them. In many cases, Millennials have put off marriage and child-bearing as they grapple with college debt burdens and career challenges from slow economic growth.

The number of persons living alone has continued rising in recent years, and two-person households have become more common than 3+ person households in the local region. Rental demand continues climbing. Having more rental options may help Central Arkansas as it competes against larger metro areas for mobile
human talent. 

Meanwhile, population for the region has increased by 5.3 percent from 2010 to 2016, slightly better than the 4.5 percent national growth. Little Rock grew very little.

Within the region, Saline County remains the fastest-growing, having gained 10,000 persons over the year 2010, a growth rate of 9.5 percent. Faulkner County is now the region’s second-fastest growing county, with 8.3 percent growth 2010–2016, having slowed in recent years. Lonoke County is third fastest-growing, at 6 percent 2010–2016.
Pulaski County grew by a more modest 3.4 percent over the period, but when measured by absolute population gain it ranked first, growing 13,204 persons compared with 10,189 for Saline County.