Tag Archives: cost of housing in Dickinson North Dakota

The Difference Between The Oil Field In Texas And North Dakota

In May of 2011 I came to Dickinson, North Dakota to work in the oil field, and I stayed for about eight months.  In April of 2012, I went to work in the oil field in Texas, and I was in Texas for about ten months.

I have written about two hundred blog posts describing what living in Dickinson, North Dakota was like during the oil boom: extremely high housing prices, housing prices increasing by 400% to 500%, people living in their cars, extremely cold weather in the winter, police trying to stop everyone, shortage of women, lack of attractive women, lack of anything to do, local people being hostile, unfriendly, not cooperative, unhelpful, hateful, mean, and mistreating educated people in every way possible.

In Texas there was not really a shortage of housing.  Near the oil fields, they made trailer parks where they needed trailer parks.  In the oil field where I worked, the housing prices were increased by 100% to 150%.  Near the oil field, I lived in a three bedroom, one bathroom new manufactured home in a very nice RV park that rented for $1,800 per month, (In Dickinson, North Dakota this same manufactured home would have had rent of $3,000 per month.)  In the large cities that were involved in the oil industry like Dallas and Houston, housing was very affordable.  I lived in a three bedroom, two bathroom, two car garage house, with a big yard, in a nice neighborhood outside of Dallas, and the house rent was $1,000 per month, (In Dickinson, North Dakota this same house would have had rent of $3,500 per month.)

There was a shortage of women in the oil field areas of Texas, however the women that were there did like oil field worker men very much, unlike Dickinson, North Dakota.  Also, all the oil field workers that I knew in Texas would sometimes go away for the weekend to San Antonio, Austin, Corpus Christi, or Mexico where they would have a good time, and the women all liked the oil field worker men very much, unlike North Dakota.  In Texas, most people valued education, and I was treated with much more respect in the oil field and everywhere else in Texas when they knew I was an engineer, unlike North Dakota.

North Dakota got down to -20 degrees Fahrenheit in Winter.  Texas got up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit in Summer.  The police tried to follow, sneak up on, and stop all the oil field workers in North Dakota.  The police did the same thing in Texas.  I would much rather go to jail or prison in North Dakota, than in Texas.

It was harder to get an oil field job in Texas, because there are over 25 million people in Texas, and many people want to work in the oil field in Texas.  It was much easier to get an oil field job in North Dakota, because there are less than 1 million people in North Dakota, and there was a shortage of oil field workers.  This I believe, is the reason why you often see Texas license plates on vehicles in North Dakota, it had been much much easier to get an oil field job in North Dakota than in Texas.

I would rather live in North Dakota than in Texas, because I don’t like large cities like Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio.  Large cities bring out the worst in people, pushy aggressive uncaring behavior.  And, in the large cities, the wealthy people live so much better than the lower middle class and poor people, that this causes a great deal of discontentment.  Partly because of the wealthy people living so much better than the lower middle class and poor people in Texas, I have never seen so much bragging, boasting, showing off, fakery, and pretending to be something you are not, than I have in Texas, which is very sickening and repulsive to me.

Though there is a lack of things to do in North Dakota, a shortage of women, a lack of attractive women, the local people are hostile, unfriendly, not helpful, uncooperative, and they have hatred for educated people, the worst thing about Dickinson was the absurd greed of the property owners, property developers, and real estate agents in trying to take almost all of people’s money for housing.  They did not attempt to do this in Texas.  This is one reason why the population of Texas is over 25 million, and the population of North Dakota is less than 1 million.  North Dakota drives people away.

What Other Researchers Found About The Cost Of Housing In Dickinson, North Dakota

There are many people who do not believe what I write about Dickinson, North Dakota.  So I wanted to write some blog posts that show what other people write about Dickinson.

In mid January 2017 I wrote a blog post titled, “How Excessive Land Greed Has Hurt Dickinson For Ever”.  In that blog post I explained that during the Oil Boom the price of housing in Dickinson quadrupled.  There was not a scarcity of land around Dickinson, there was more vacant unoccupied land around Dickinson than just about anywhere else in the United States.  Though the local land owners, local property owners, property managers, and real estate agents may have been able to gouge the out of state workers from 2007 through 2014, this made the out of state workers make up their minds that they would never be able to make Dickinson their home.  They all planned on leaving when the Oil Boom was over.

If you do a Google search for “relocating to Dickinson, North Dakota”, you will find an article from the Inforum.com website titled “Survey: Most out-of-state oil workers not interested in moving to ND”.  This article was written by Mike Nowatzki of Forum News Service in February of 2016.

Two North Dakota State University researchers named Nancy Hodur and Dean Bangsund surveyed 15 firms representing 8,100 employees in 2014 and 2015.  These two researchers presented their results at the North Dakota Housing Finance Agency annual conference in Bismarck in February 2016.

Here are a few quotes from this Inforum.com website article:

“More than 80 percent of nonresidents working in North Dakota’s oil and gas industry don’t want to put down roots in the state, while those who want to relocate see housing costs as a major barrier, researchers found in a survey released Tuesday.”

“When asked if they would like to move to North Dakota, only 19 percent of nonresident workers said yes.

“I thought that was one of the more startling statistics out of this,” said Hodur, an assistant professor in NDSU’s Department of Agribusiness and Applied Economics.

Those workers most frequently cited the high cost of housing and the fear that home values would someday fall below current prices as factors affecting their ability to relocate.

“It’s not because the weather’s too cold. It’s not because they think North Dakota’s a lousy place to raise a family” or that the state’s schools are lacking, Hodur said in an interview. “It’s because it’s too expensive.””

I encourage readers to go read this Inforum.com website article.  You can see, that I am not making this up, the high cost of housing in Dickinson made out of state workers decide that they could never live here permanently.  What the land owners, property owners, property managers, and real estate agents did during the Oil Boom is going to hurt Dickinson for ever.

Answering A Reader’s Questions About Buying A Home Now In Dickinson, North Dakota

Do not buy a home now in Dickinson, North Dakota unless the price is very low, and it is a property that you will be able to rent out in the future.  I will thoroughly explain why I make this statement.  But I need to caution you right away that you do not want to let your employer or your coworkers find out that you are having any hesitation in wanting to buy a home in Dickinson.  Employers want to see that their employees are committed to being here, that they are dependent on their job here, and that they don’t plan on leaving.  Your coworkers will tell on you, believe me they will.  They all know that you are renting, and that you are looking at houses to buy.  The husband needs to blame the wife, that she is just so picky, the wife says, “The yard is too dark, the yard is too small, the bathroom is too small, the closets are too small, the kitchen is outdated, the bedrooms are too small.”  That way, everybody will just think that there is no pleasing his wife, everybody might even feel sorry for the husband, and have admiration for him in persevering with such a difficult wife.  The wife can blame the husband for not being able to find the right house, and everybody will just think the wife is crazy.  However, no one can find out that the truth is you are skeptical about buying a house in Dickinson right now.

Reasons not to buy a house in Dickinson, North Dakota right now:

  1. There is about a 50% chance that the oil field work in western North Dakota will continue to decrease, for years.  Not only will oil field related jobs continue to decrease, all jobs in all areas of the economy will subsequently decrease.  You can research this for yourself by reading about the history of North Dakota, and by talking to old local people that are not in business or real estate.  A good website to read is “A Brief History Of North Dakota Oil Production”, which is a collection of newspaper articles from the past about the Oil Boom in the 1950s, and the Oil Boom in the 1970s.  Supplement your reading by talking to old blue collar workers in Dickinson.  They will tell you about the difficulty in getting any employment for ten years after the 1970s Oil Boom, and that all employment was very low wage.  What I am telling you is there is a 50% chance that you or your husband may lose your job in a year or two, and that so will everybody else.  You will not want to live here, because there will be very few jobs, and they will be low paying jobs.  You will not be able to sell your house, because everyone else will be trying to sell their house too, and no one will have any money.  This all happened before in Dickinson, go read about it for yourself, and go ask old local blue collar workers.
  2. This is somewhat related to Reason #1, but I need to explain this separately.  I will begin by saying that the home prices are too high in Dickinson right now.  But let’s just say that you find a home that you like for $350,000 right now, and that this price seems fair.  Reading about the history of Dickinson, and talking to old local people, you find out what happened after the Oil Boom of the 1970s.  Based on what happened in the past, this house that you bought for $350,000 right now, two years from now if the oil field work has continued to decrease, you might not be able to sell this house for $180,000 because everyone else will be trying to sell their house too, no one will want to live here, and no one will have any money.  It is not that your house is worth so little money, it is that no one wants it, everybody wants to leave.  Do you want to lose that much money?  Are you prepared to leave the state and rent your house out?  Is your house the kind of property that you could rent out?
  3. There is a 50% chance that the price of oil will climb, will remain high, and oil drilling operations will begin again in North Dakota.  You can go and read for yourself news articles from all the different oil companies where they state, “In order for our company to begin again with drilling operations, the price of oil would have to climb to over $60 per barrel and remain there for several months before we would take any action.  Then, at that time we would begin bringing personnel back in all areas of operations.  It would take nine to twelve months to get enough personnel back to resume full operation.”  What this means to me, is that as long as the price of oil is low, employment in North Dakota will not increase. There will continue to be new apartment buildings with occupancy rates of 30%.  Apartment rents will continue to decrease, consequently house rents will continue to decrease.  There is no justification for home prices to remain high, other than wishful thinking of the homeowners and real estate agents.  Where are the owners of these houses that are for sale?  Are they still making high wages in the oil field, probably not.  How long can they afford to pay $2,000 to $3,000 per month mortgages, not forever, because if they could afford to wait, they would just wait for the Oil Boom to come back and make a profit.  They are not waiting because they can’t wait, they need to sell, more and more each day as they keep having to pay their mortgages, and new apartment rents become lower and lower.  A buyer right now can afford to wait for prices to drop in Dickinson.  A buyer should look at everything that is available, know what is available, and wait.  If the price of oil climbs for several months, and remains high for several months, and oil companies begin increasing their personnel, that might be the time to consider buying a house if you plan on staying in Dickinson and the oil field may be busy for more than a couple of years.  But you will have several months of advance warning before you have to decide whether to buy or not.
  4. Since you don’t have to hurry up and buy anything right now,  Keep Looking.  I would not only be looking for my ideal house, I would be looking for something that might be a really good deal.  This good deal could be a house closer to Belfield, South Heart, Richardton, or Gladstone, that may have so much land, have such a good view, or be so low priced that you feel it is too good to pass up.

To answer your question about real estate agents, property managers, and property investors gouging people.  Prior to 2007, there were three bedroom/two bathroom older homes in Dickinson that sold for $30,000 to $40,000 and rented for about $400 to $600 per month.  Retail workers, restaurant workers, construction workers, and retirees lived in these homes.  By 2011 these rents had increased to $3,000 per month, about five to six times what they had been.  The retail worker and restaurant worker wages increased by maybe 40%.  The construction worker wages increased by maybe 50% to 60%.  The retiree income might have increased by 5%.  But the rent increased by 500%.

All over Dickinson, the price of goods and services increased.  Grocery prices might have increased 15%, car repair prices might have increased 15% to %25.  Everybody could understand 15% to 25% price increases, but not the 500% housing price increase.  Everybody who moved to Dickinson to work was angry about the cost of housing and being ripped off.  Everybody who moved to Dickinson decided right away that as soon as the Oil Boom was over, they were leaving.  No one wanted to stay or could afford to stay after they lost their oil field job.  The real estate agents, property managers, and property investors might have been able to gouge people for about five years, but the people got gouged so bad that they all left, and now nobody wants to live here.  All the other business owners have the real estate agents, property managers, and property investors to thank for ruining what could have been permanent growth of the area.  All over the United States for the next fifty years, people will be talking about how bad North Dakota was, and really most of everybody’s bad experience was being gouged on housing.

More About The Dickinson Mafia

The first time that I wrote about the Dickinson Mafia was in my previous post, “The Dickinson Mafia”.  I stated that the Dickinson Mafia was a group of local business owners and city leaders that had decided among themselves what they envisioned for Dickinson, that they tell themselves and each other that what they want is for the betterment of Dickinson, and in the best interest of its citizens, but what they want happens to coincide with making themselves richer, controlling citizens for their benefit, and helping them maintain power.

In my previous post I gave two examples of the endeavors of the Dickinson Mafia.  Business owners can join the Chamber of Commerce to express their views about what they see for the future, and try to get other business owners to share their view.  Business owners can express their views at City Commission/Council/Zoning meetings.  They can write Letters To The Editor of the “Dickinson Press” expressing their opinions on issues.  They can join the Golf Club, the Eagles Lodge, or the Elks Lodge in order to talk to other business owners and community leaders about their ideas.  In my opinion, when business men want to get things done in a more unseen way, they join the Masonic Lodge.  The Masonic Lodge holds their meetings in private, and they do not publicize who their members are, the rank of their members, and what things they discuss.  The Masonic Lodge is very similar to the “Good-Old-Boy Network”.

Like the “Good-Old-Boy Network” in the South, a newcomer to a city who starts a construction business might be clueless as to why he seems to be having so much trouble, with everything.  The newcomer who started a construction company might know why he is having so much trouble if he knew that his main competitor is the Grand Master of the local Masonic Lodge, and that the lumber company owner, the concrete company owner, the building inspector, the city engineer, the mayor, and the chief of police are also members of the local Masonic Lodge.  Though the Masons publicly claim that this is not the case, their primary purpose and reason for existence is to have an organization of men that secretly gain power and control, and then exert their power and control.  Men that are mayors, chiefs of police, bank presidents, attorneys, real estate agents, and insurance agents do obtain information that is private and confidential, to share some information would be a violation of ethics and illegal, however this information is shared among Masons to allow financial gain, business opportunity, and to undermine, control, and manipulate others.  In the case of the Dickinson Mafia, I do not know yet whether they ever worked within the local Masonic Lodge.  It appears to me that the Dickinson Mafia is able to achieve the same things on its own: having people gain positions of power, using that power to further enrich themselves, using their money to further increase their power, using their money, power, and influence to control what is done in Dickinson, and to control people in Dickinson.  The people in Dickinson are somewhat aware that this is being done.  They think it and they feel it, but they are not always able or willing to verbalize how they are controlled by some of the wealthy business owners in Dickinson.

The way that the Dickinson Mafia want Dickinson to be, is that they want to have mechanisms of control in place so that they can control what is going on in Dickinson during the oil booms that come and go, so that they can also have control when the oil booms go away.  It does not matter where you are from, have you ever seen more vacant barren land anywhere than what there is outside of Dickinson?  There is vacant undeveloped land as far as you can see, and beyond as far as you can see.  There is no scarcity of vacant land.  The cost of housing in Dickinson, and the shortage of housing in Dickinson is something that the Dickinson Mafia want.  Though quick, affordable housing was something that was needed starting back in 2010, the Dickinson Mafia didn’t want that.  They didn’t want out-of-state workers to come here, make a lot of money, send money back home, pay off their houses back home, get ahead financially, the Dickinson Mafia wanted the out-of-state workers to be taken advantage of, just like they have been taking advantage of the workers in their own businesses for the last thirty years.

One more thing, if you try to look up the “Dickinson Mafia” on the internet, the first six results of your search are an exact match for “Dickinson Mafia”.  You can go and look at each of these six matching websites, web addresses, or links, and they really don’t contain any content that is relevant to an entity or activity that would or could be called “Dickinson Mafia”.  It is like someone had the expectation that people would be trying to find out information about the “Dickinson Mafia” and they wanted to make sure that your internet search would be sure to turn up their six websites, that contain no information on the Dickinson Mafia.  That is one way to try to keep people from knowing about the Dickinson Mafia.