Urban planning community

+ Reply to thread
Results 1 to 15 of 15

Thread: Williston, North Dakota: most expensive housing in the United States

  1. #1
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 1996
    Location
    Upstate New York
    Posts
    14,552
    Blog entries
    3

    Williston, North Dakota: most expensive housing in the United States

    There's many articles online about how communities that are affected by the shale gas and oil boom are facing not just environmental issues, but also a host of other social and economic impacts: traffic congestion from commercial vehicles, transient population, crime, and an explosion in housing costs.

    Little rural towns in northern Pennsylvania that were previously off the map are now some of the fastest growing in the country, with real estate costs more typical of places closer to the Northeast Corridor. However, no place has experienced a boom quite like Williston, North Dakota, where housing prices are now the highest in the United States - higher than New York City, higher than San Francisco.

    Some examples:

    http://www.realtor.com/realestateand..._ND?source=web
    http://nd.craigslist.org/apa/3048671719.html
    http://nd.craigslist.org/apa/3031461941.html
    http://nd.craigslist.org/apa/3011770888.html
    http://nd.craigslist.org/apa/3042423213.html (!)

    Of course, after the boom, there will be a bust. The reality of building permanent housing in a small town with an energy boom -- that the boom will someday end, and the housing will go begging -- almost requires outrageous prices at the onset so the development is profitable.

    I'm surprised that some entrepreneur hasn't leased land in a nearby unzoned area, and set up Katrina Cottages by the hundreds.

    Looking at Williston on Google Street View, and seeing videos of the place on YouTube, it doesn't look like the boom is translating into better planning. The city and its downtown looks absolutely dreadful. and new site-built houses follow the typical suburban mold; large lots, sprawling subdivisions.

    Are you in a community facing a boom from shale oil or gas? How are you dealing wit the pressures of growth, and the prospect of a future bust?
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Plus
    Registered
    Jun 2003
    Location
    De Noc
    Posts
    17,715
    Colorado (western slope) had a shale oil boom and bust in the 70-80's.

    Guest Commentary: 30 years after Exxon's oil shale bust in Colorado

    Many more articles when you Google: colorado oil shale boom and bust

    Cautionary tale ?
    Oddball
    Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves?
    Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here?
    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
    From Kelly's Heroes (1970)


    Are you sure you're not hurt ?
    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
    From Electric Horseman (1979)

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Wherever
    Posts
    1,181
    Curious how North Dakota handles the inevitable bust since unlike Colorado, they don't have the amenities to keep people there.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Where the weak are killed and eaten.
    Posts
    6,185
    Quote Originally posted by Blide View post
    Curious how North Dakota handles the inevitable bust since unlike Colorado, they don't have the amenities to keep people there.
    If I remember my travels along US-2 correctly, Williston is where the prarie ends and the foothills begin. I don't recall it being particularly monotonous or deadful (unlike W Minn and E ND!). That being said, I am sure it gets pretty cold there.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  5. #5
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Colo Front Range
    Posts
    2,395
    Quote Originally posted by JNA View post
    Colorado (western slope) had a shale oil boom and bust in the 70-80's.

    Cautionary tale ?
    Nope. Front Range has rigs going up all over the place. Astronomy dark sky site out in the grasslands is no longer good from all the drilling rig lights. IIRC Encana fracked in the middle of the night on a Saturday just meters from a new subdivision in Commerce City. The tale will be different this time, but the moral will be the same (besides the fact that we never learn).

    :o\
    -------
    Give a man a gun, and he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank, and he can rob the world.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2001
    Location
    The Cheese State
    Posts
    9,920
    Dan - There are numerous "man camps" being constructed in the region, or at least there were, since some places had to put a moratorium in place to ensure that they could handle them. Companies basically bring in trailers and develop extensive trailer parks for oil workers.

    Detroit - Williston is still a long way from the foothills. There is still a stretch of 400 miles in eastern Montana. It is all shortgrass prairie and badlands.

    Several years ago the problem with housing was that a new home would immediately lose value. It cost more to build than what it could sell for. This put a damper on new construction and is part of the reason there was so little inventory to start. Much of the available housing was in the small communities around places like Williston and Minot, where people have been moving out for decades, generally to Williston, Minot, Dickinson, and Bismarck, or if you were a little further east, to Fargo and Grand Forks. Outside of agriculture and coal mining there is not much industry in this region, so employment prospects were not too good. As you might expect, pay was also not very good. Very affordable housing helped to offset low incomes. Than came oil.

    Renters have it the worst, as the apartment they were renting for $400 per month suddenly commanded $2000. Oil workers with high wages and housing allowances could pay this, but not the people working in the stores, restaurants, and other businesses in town. Their wages have gone up some, so that a line worker at McDonalds might be able to get $15 per hour, but they still can't find a place to live. Some locals have improved their earnings by going to work for the drillers. They mostly do maintenance and drive trucks, as the highest-paid jobs in field work require skills they do not have. Other locals have left the region as they can no longer afford to live there. In the long run this will worsen the "bust" when oil workers leave and there are fewer households and workers remaining to rebuild the economy.

    Minot presents an interesting case. It is on the edge of the Bakken Formation, so it is experiencing the impacts of the boom. Last year there was a major flood that damaged or destroyed a third of the city's housing. This greatly exacerbated the problem. Again, a large number of people will end up leaving rather than continuing to live in temporary housing or attempt to buy new housing at inflated prices.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
    Registered
    May 2003
    Location
    Northwestern Ohio
    Posts
    9,327
    Seems to me that the rest of North Dakota has been enjoying very low unemployment, a friendly cost-of-living environment, and low crime. I have been to Williston, many moons ago. "One horse" town back then.

    Bear
    Occupy Cyburbia!

  8. #8
    Cyburbian rcgplanner's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Back in SE Texas
    Posts
    1,660
    Here in Houston the news has been sprinkled with the talk of many of the oil/gas and chemical companies are looking at doing massive expansion projects. 3-5 years of construction, 10,000 new workers, $500 million expansions.

    Many of these communities are seeing a huge uptick in people interested in constructing RV parks. Thinking ahead, many of these communities have enacted higher standards on RV and Manufactured Home parks. These regulations require higher amounts of landscaping, recreation areas, sidewalks, etc. The attitude is that these communities are not going to bend to the will of these companies. After the boom busts, they don't want to be responsible for the maintenance of a dead RV park after the construction completes.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
    Registered
    May 2003
    Location
    Northwestern Ohio
    Posts
    9,327
    For a really good......or is it bad?.....view of an oil-boom town, take a look at Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada. Incredible.

    Bear
    Occupy Cyburbia!

  10. #10
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
    Registered
    Feb 1998
    Location
    Greensburg, Kansas
    Posts
    2,950
    Quote Originally posted by rcgplanner View post
    Here in Houston the news has been sprinkled with the talk of many of the oil/gas and chemical companies are looking at doing massive expansion projects. 3-5 years of construction, 10,000 new workers, $500 million expansions.

    Many of these communities are seeing a huge uptick in people interested in constructing RV parks. Thinking ahead, many of these communities have enacted higher standards on RV and Manufactured Home parks. These regulations require higher amounts of landscaping, recreation areas, sidewalks, etc. The attitude is that these communities are not going to bend to the will of these companies. After the boom busts, they don't want to be responsible for the maintenance of a dead RV park after the construction completes.
    In 3-5 years these parks will be abandoned. Many if not most will have occupants 4 days a week. Their temporary nature needs due consideration. I am working on relaxing the standards and granting 2 year permits.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Plus
    Registered
    Jun 2003
    Location
    De Noc
    Posts
    17,715
    Front page article in USA Today -

    Natural gas gold rush: Is your state next?

    Above ground, rents increase and hotel rooms begin to fill up. In the process, out-of-the-way towns that had been moseying along for decades begin to change: Some folks are thrilled at the infusion of jobs and cash, and others worry about higher rents and the massive change in the landscape. After all, right before their eyes, forests and farms become factories for finding fossil fuel.

    "The issue is, what kind of landscape is left behind? Who's going to win? Who's going to lose?"

    "there's no recipe book" to help communities perfectly respond to the mix of new wealth, environmental concerns, housing price fluctuations, crime spikes, noise, trucks and other disruptions to daily life associated with an energy boom.
    Oddball
    Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves?
    Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here?
    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
    From Kelly's Heroes (1970)


    Are you sure you're not hurt ?
    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
    From Electric Horseman (1979)

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Mud Princess's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Upstate
    Posts
    4,830
    I just came across this article: Energy Boom in West Creating Jobs and Growth, But Changing Way of Life

    Very interesting - it discusses many of the issues others have raised in this thread.

  13. #13

    Temporary Housing

    Has anyone had any luck instituting regulations requiring man camps/rv parks to be temporary only? If so, how do you deal with closing the park at the end of the temporary period? Do you just evict any residents? If you have any examples of these regs, please post a link. Thanks in advance!

  14. #14
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
    Registered
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Wishing I were in Asia somewhere!
    Posts
    9,697
    Blog entries
    5
    Quote Originally posted by Mud Princess View post
    I just came across this article: Energy Boom in West Creating Jobs and Growth, But Changing Way of Life

    Very interesting - it discusses many of the issues others have raised in this thread.
    This piece was in the NYT Magazine about a month ago. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/03/ma...went-boom.html
    Here's the companion multimedia piece. http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2...tos-audio.html
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  15. #15
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Down by Dun Ringill
    Posts
    5,896
    Blog entries
    6
    We had an outbreak of man-camps following the reopening of a mine in our county. That seemed to have died down, probably due to the temporary jobs drying up and the permanent worker being able to find housing where we have a surplus.

    Eastern Montana near the ND border has experienced some man-camp activity. Over most of the state, though, it has not been an issue. Thus far, most of the state's energy production is natural gas and coal. The price of natural gas doesn't pencil out to do more exploration at this time. As a result, drilling rigs have been moving out of the state, to ND and Canada.
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

    ~ Otterpop ~

+ Reply to thread

More at Cyburbia

  1. United States of Apathy?
    Friday Afternoon Club
    Replies: 11
    Last post: 01 Apr 2008, 1:37 PM
  2. Why North Dakota, Why?
    Friday Afternoon Club
    Replies: 15
    Last post: 11 Mar 2005, 11:05 AM
  3. Victory for the United States
    Friday Afternoon Club
    Replies: 2
    Last post: 26 Feb 2005, 3:15 PM
  4. Replies: 2
    Last post: 11 Feb 2003, 12:43 PM