Housing Assessment Says State’s Population Is Wealthier, Younger and More Racially Diverse; More Resources Needed to Address Limited Housing Options, Affordability and Aging Stock

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BISMARCK, ND – A decade ago, North Dakota’s housing needs were driven by a rapidly growing population. A statewide housing needs assessment conducted by North Dakota State University’s (NDSU) Center for Social Research in partnership with North Dakota Housing Finance Agency (NDHFA) says the state’s focus needs to shift from building as fast as possible to addressing the age of its housing stock, limited housing options and affordability barriers.

“While the state’s robust and diverse economies have lowered the average age of residents and increased per household wealth, we cannot ignore the challenges that some North Dakotans are experiencing in relation to increased housing costs,” said NDHFA Executive Director Dave Flohr. “We know that disparities exist for some racial groups, lower-income households and vulnerable populations that cannot be ignored. The assessment is a tool for state and local leadership to be able to understand the magnitude of the barriers residents face when accessing housing.”

Across the state, higher wages and salaries have resulted in higher household and family incomes. Despite the rise in incomes, there has been little overall change in the number of moderate-income households. While there has been an increase in the number of households who earn more than $125,000 annually, the majority of North Dakota households (57%) earn less than $75,000, and 38% earn less than $50,000. Further, despite growth in incomes across North Dakota during the past decade there was little change in the state’s poverty rate.

Even with a significant increase in income, 41% over the past decade, when urban and rural data is combined the average price for home sales still rose faster, by 51% from $163,144 in 2010 to $246,786 in 2020. In 2021, sales prices increased another 8% to $267,404. Rising mortgage interest rates further impact affordability. During that same period, 2010 to 2021, renters weathered gross rental rates that grew by 49%, more than twice the rate of inflation.

The need for more housing construction is felt in both the state’s urban and rural areas. Lingering supply chain and workforce issues have delayed single-family and multifamily housing from being built and driven up costs.

“Housing developers and entrepreneurs could go into almost every community in the state and start building,” said Flohr. “All forms of housing development would be welcome to address the needs of lower-income households, families with children, and the state’s fastest growing population segment – baby boomers.”

The key goal of the assessment is to provide insights into the state’s expected housing requirements as determined by recent trends and current conditions on a wide range of demographic, economic and housing indicators. It forecasts North Dakota’s housing and population projections from 2020-2025.

Barring any major shifts in the economy that might alter migration patterns, the assessment projects the state’s population will increase by 1.3% or about 10,000 people by 2025. Based on this estimate, the state would need to add an additional 9,285 housing units by 2025, a 3% increase from 2020.

Available online in the publications section of NDHFA’s website, www.ndhfa.org, the assessment consists of several components – a statewide population and housing forecast, regional profiles and detailed tables broken down by various levels of geography including the state as a whole, the eight planning regions, 53 counties, 12 major cities and four Native American Reservations.

A self-supporting state agency dedicated to making housing affordable for all North Dakotans, NDHFA is overseen by the North Dakota Industrial Commission, consisting of Governor Doug Burgum as chairman, Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring and Attorney General Drew H. Wrigley.

The Center for Social Research is an applied research institute that focuses on interdisciplinary socio-economic research on issues relevant to the North Dakota economy, its communities, and its residents.

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