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Developers hustle to keep up with housing demand as Conway continues to grow

"In the past, I built 15-20 houses a year. In the last three to four years, we've been on the 40-50 houses per year."

CONWAY, Ark. — For years, Saline County was considered the fastest-growing area in central Arkansas, but now Faulkner County seems to be catching up.

In Conway, developers can’t keep up with the demand for housing.

"I've been building in Conway for 38 years,” said Tom Watson, president of Tom Watson Construction.

The increased demand for housing in Conway is nothing like Watson has ever seen before.

"It puts stress on sub-contractors who are trying to meet the demand,” said Watson.

Watson said there’s a lack of plumbers, electricians.

"We are down here in the southwest corner of Conway, but there's construction like this going on all over the place,” said Bobby Kelly, city spokesperson.  

Watson added additional crews to keep up with the need.

"In the past, I built 15-20 houses a year,” said Watson. “In the last three to four years, we've been on the 40-50 houses per year."

More people living in Conway means more money for the city as well.

Conway collected $150,000 more in tax revenue this July compared to last year.

"We can't control everything. We can't control the markets, but what we can do is make it as easy as possible for people to do business here in this city,” said Kelly.

The city's focused on keeping growth moving forward by speeding up the development review process and get out of the way of progress.

"So whenever folks submit plans, it doesn't take the city a month and a half to review,” said Kelly. “That’s way too long."

It’s a good problem for developers like Watson and his team.

But, the work load becomes more challenging until more trade workers come forward.

"They have to hustle now to keep up with demand we have in Conway," Watson added.

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