I moved from north of Dickinson to downtown Dickinson about two months ago. Throughout the several city block area in my neighborhood, there are a few houses and yards that are a mess, but the majority of the houses and yards are so well kept, that overall the neighborhood is pleasant and attractive. And my neighborhood is probably a bad neighborhood in comparison to the adjacent neighborhoods.
I often criticize the local Dickinson residents for being uneducated, ignorant, hostile, hateful, unfriendly, not helpful, and uncooperative. I am not going to take any of that back. However, it does amaze me that these local people living in the lower middle class neighborhoods in Dickinson maintain their homes so well that the nicest looking areas in Dickinson are these vast neighborhoods in the downtown city blocks.
Although there is one corner of downtown Dickinson that has more affluent people, and this neighborhood is fairly nice, with dead-end streets, private drives, some larger yards, and even an $800,000 house with a swimming pool, this neighborhood is not as well maintained as many of the lower middle class neighborhoods in Dickinson. This is very strange to me, and might be a unique situation found only in Dickinson.
I have thought about why this may be the case, that the lower middle class neighborhoods in Dickinson are so nice looking. I believe that there are four main reasons.
- Putting aside the oil booms of the 1950s, 1978, and 2007, the growth of Dickinson has been slow and steady. There did not occur the creation of vast new suburbs outside of Dickinson, and the abandonment of downtown Dickinson. Downtown Dickinson has been continuously occupied, and has always been a fairly desirable location to live in, by the local residents.
- Putting aside the oil booms of the 1950s, 1978, and 2007, Dickinson has not been a town where many people became rich or affluent. There were not tremendous numbers of people in Dickinson that made so much money by the time they were in their late thirties, that they needed to have a “McMansion” built. Nor were there tremendous numbers of people that were making so much money that they looked at their first home as a “starter home”. Now that I am writing this, I think that the fact that most home buyers in Dickinson believed that, “This is it, this is the only home we will ever have.”, made the homeowners take care of their homes.
- Due to the recent oil boom that occurred in 2007, home prices in Dickinson literally doubled and tripled in just a few years. Homeowners in Dickinson that might not have even had significant pay increases in their line of work, would have had easy access to home equity loans to make home repairs, renovations, additions, and improvements.
- Due to the recent oil boom that occurred in 2007, many home owners in Dickinson did have significant increases in the amount of money they were earning. With home prices literally doubling an tripling within just a few years, it would not have been appealing for local homeowners to buy a better house now that they were making more money. It would make sense to repair, renovate, add onto, and improve the home that they already owned. Many local residents did do this.
Not only do these lower middle class neighborhoods in Dickinson look very nice, they currently do not have very much crime in these neighborhoods, and they are fairly quiet and peaceful.
Real Estate agents and homeowners in Dickinson currently believe that their homes in these lower middle class neighborhoods are worth $225,000 to $380,000, which is ridiculous, for several reasons. A family would have to expect to make at least $70,000 per year for the next thirty years to be able to afford that much money, which very few families can expect to do now that the oil boom is over. There will be many houses for sale now that the oil boom is over, there are fewer jobs, and people have to leave Dickinson. House prices will become lower, and lower, and lower.
These neighborhoods do look nice though. Many, or most of these houses have new vehicles parked in front of them, which I think is an indication that the homeowners did well financially during this most recent oil boom, or they took out home equity loans when the housing prices doubled and tripled.