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Housing demand high despite high building rates

By Jessica Holdman

Despite the building of more than 3,000 apartment units over the last three years in Williston, a movement away from man camps and more families coming to the area are keeping demand high.

In 2011, 25 multi-family building permits were issued for a total of 1,017 units in Williston. The value of those units totaled $124,090,369. The following year, 24 permits were issued for 1,377 units valued at $177,712,090. Last year the number was

49 permits for 1,501 units valued at $200,525,259.

Before that, in 2010, only 12 permits were issued by the city of Williston for 246 units.

“The demand out in Williston is still very high,” said Justin Hammer of Investors Real Estate Trust and the Magic City Apartment Association.

Hammer said Williston is in the process of trying to get rid of man camps. He said the city has worked with companies who need the housing for their workers but are pushing in favor of homes and apartments in an attempt to make workers more permanent residents.

That is evidenced by the upcoming Williston Housing Fair, which has seminars focused mostly on home purchases. Target Logistics, one of the larger man camp companies in the Bakken, has 12 facilities in North Dakota with a total of more than 4,000 rooms.

“Demand is still so high,” Hammer said, and reports of $2,000 rental rates are not exaggerated.

In IRET’s newest Williston development, renters will pay $1,800 for a one-bedroom apartment, $2,400 for two bedrooms and $3,100 for three bedrooms. Hammer said that is below other rates charged by competitors in the market.

Rents are still growing and building still has not caught up to demand.

Hammer also said a lot of oil-related companies that were renting out units to employees are now getting out of the housing industry.

Hammer said many companies found it more difficult when an employee quit or was fired. Not only did the company have to find a replacement, it had to get former employees out of the company apartment, too.

Putting employees on a rent stipend has caused a lot more shopping around as they are the ones footing the bill rather than the company.

More families also are coming to the Williston area, Hammer said. As workers bring families in, the population increases even more and demand follows.

In Dickinson, permit numbers were higher in 2011 but unit numbers were not. The city issued 74 permits for 194 units valued at $19,551,072. In 2012, the opposite was true. There were 33 permits issued for 846 units valued at $45,189,830. As of March 2013, permits for 266 units had been issued. That was the most recent data availble for the year.

According to Bauer Property Management, rents in Dickinson started to level off about a year ago as building has caught up to demand. Rent for a one-bedroom is still in the $900 to $1,100 per month range. Two bedrooms go for about $1,250 per month.

In Minot, rents have plateaued in the last six months to a year, Hammer said.

“Last year there was a lot of new construction and there’s more to come,” Hammer said. IRET itself has 300 units under construction in the area. “There’s just more in the market.”

Rents for a one-bedroom apartment are about $700 a month. Two- and three-bedroom spaces are upwards of $1,000.

In 2011, 32 permits for multi-family housing were issued in Minot. They were valued at a total of $43,166,000. In 2012, 37 permits were issued and were valued at $62,421,000. in 2013, the numbers were

33 permits valued at $98,833,000. Apartment units totaled 628 in 2011 and 762 in 2012.

Reach Jessica Holdman at 701-250-8261 or jessica.holdman@bismarcktribune.com.

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