Tag Archives: development in Dickinson North Dakota

Causes And Effects Of Excessive Land Greed In Dickinson, North Dakota

The entire population in the state of North Dakota is currently less than 800,000 people.  There is more vacant and unoccupied land in North Dakota than just about any other state.  The land in North Dakota is mostly barren and desolate.  There are very few trees, rivers, or mountains, it is mostly grassland.  But I have never before seen people so excessively greedy about land as around here in Dickinson, North Dakota.

One of the few explanations that I can determine why the people around Dickinson have been so greedy about land is that nothing else really exists here in North Dakota.  They could have been greedy about coal, oil, horses, or cattle, but that pretty much involves land too.  Another explanation that I have written about before, was that the people around Dickinson never envisioned becoming successful through ingenuity, innovation, or creativity, but just by getting more land.

If you ever watched the old West television shows like Gunsmoke, Rawhide, High Chaparral, The Virginian, and The Rifleman, there were always episodes where some insane old fucker was trying to shoot at people who came near his land, bought the adjacent land, were thinking about buying the adjacent land, or he was trying to kill his neighbor in order to take his land.  These insane old fuckers that were trying to shoot people are actually more rational and less mentally ill than the land owners in and around Dickinson.

The land outside of Dickinson is worth about $1,000 per acre without the mineral rights, because there is just so much vacant land in North Dakota.  Outside the Oil Boom areas in North Dakota, you can still buy land for $1,000 per acre.  If the Oil Boom does not come back to western North Dakota within the next five years, land owners outside of Dickinson will only be able to sell their land for about $1,000 per acre.

However, during the Oil Boom, there were many land owners in and around Dickinson that would not sell vacant barren grassland for even $10,000 to $70,000 per acre, without the mineral rights.  In the other states where I lived, Florida, Virginia, Texas, Colorado, Arizona, Utah, and Idaho, these states grew, development extended out from the towns into the wetlands, orange groves, farms, prairies, and deserts.

In every other state where I have lived, when a town or city needed to grow, it would grow outward.  The least expensive new housing would be the apartments, next least expensive the town homes, third least expensive would be manufactured homes on small private owned 1/4 acre lots, then conventional framed houses on 1/4 acre lots, then manufactured homes and conventional homes on five acre lots, and so on.  This outward growth did not happen in the Dickinson area because of the excessive greed of the land owners.

Yes, apartments did get built just on the outskirts of Dickinson.  This is because the developers went ahead and paid more than $100,000 per acre in order to construct three-story apartment buildings, side to side, and back to back, with the intention of renting each unit for $2,000 to $3,000 per month.

Just about every working adult realizes that for $2,000 per month, for that kind of money, that would be like paying the mortgage on a $250,000 house.  Why would you want to pay $2,000 per month to live in an apartment, $24,000 per year, and not own anything?

Beyond the new apartments, why weren’t there new manufactured homes on 1/4 acre lots, and new conventional homes on 1/4 acre lots.  There were some, but not that many.  A manufactured home costs about $80,000, a 1/4 acre lot in a development should cost about $30,000 with the utilities completed, that’s a cost of $110,000, couldn’t a developer sell that for $150,000?  There would have been about one thousand individuals and companies trying to get one of those, because the mortgages would have been about $1,100 to $1,200 per month, much less than rent, and you would own the home and the land.

The reason that affordable home ownership did not occur in and around Dickinson during the Oil Boom, was because the land owners would not sell land at all, thinking that the land was much too valuable to sell for any reason, or because they would not sell land for less than $100,000 per acre.  We are talking about vacant, unoccupied, desolate, grassland that stretches hundreds of miles in every direction.

It has not been talked about or written about explicitly, that all of the workers who came to western North Dakota to work during the Oil Boom made up their minds right away that they would never be able to live here permanently due to the extremely high cost of housing.  But this high cost of housing was completely, completely created by the excessive greed of the land owners in and around Dickinson.  No where else in the United States is there such an abundance of vacant, unoccupied, barren, desolate grassland stretching for hundreds of miles.

Because of the excessive greed of the land owners in and around Dickinson, not only have most of the out of state workers left, more will continue to leave, and they will never want to come back.  Some merchants, property owners, and business owners made a lot of money for about seven years.  But what good will that do these merchants, property owners, and business owners when they can’t make any money for the next five, ten, twenty years because they drove all the new residents away?

That property that all the land owners would not sell for less than $100,000 per acre, the tax appraiser will asses high taxes for the next five years at least.  By the time the land owners in and around Dickinson have to go to the nursing home, their land will be appraised at about $1,000 per acre.  It will cost them about 100 of those acres per year in the nursing home.  That will be reaping what they have sown.

A Brief History of Oil Production in North Dakota

I have stated several times that the purpose of this blog is to provide useful, truthful information about Dickinson, North Dakota, so that people from out-of-state will know what Dickinson is like, and so that people in Dickinson can see what other people think about Dickinson.  Later, one of the things that I was trying to accomplish with this blog, was to point out some of the bad things about Dickinson so that they might be changed.  Then, I just went ahead and started trying to change things myself by writing some blog posts such as “Helpful Advice to Women in Dickinson”, for instance.  I was trying to be helpful, I am trying to be helpful.

I found something that probably everybody in the United States should read, the WordPress website titled “A Brief History of Oil Production in North Dakota”.  I mean it, not just people in North Dakota, or people thinking about moving to North Dakota, everybody in the United States should read it.  The reason why I say this, is because this website explains the historical relationship between the demand for oil, the price of oil, the exploration for oil, and the production of oil in North Dakota.  The creator of this website collected the most insightful and accurate newspaper articles about oil production in North Dakota from the past 65 years.

“A Brief History of Oil Production in North Dakota” does not contain speculation, or opinions from the website creator, it presents articles from the past, that were recording what was happening at that time, or what had already happened in North Dakota.  There have been three different boom periods of oil production in North Dakota: the exploration and discovery boom in the 1950s, the oil price boom of the late 1970s, and the technology boom beginning about 2005.

The articles in the website explain at particular points in history, what the price of oil was, what oil exploration was going on, what oil production followed, the wealth that was created, the influx of people that occurred, and then the eventual decrease in oil production.  Again, I want to reiterate, the oil boom and bust occurred in North Dakota in the 1950s, then again in the late 1970s, this is completely documented by the newspaper articles in the WordPress website “A Brief History of Oil Production in North Dakota”.

The old newspaper articles state that the oil boom in North Dakota in the late 1970s came to an end because the price of oil dropped.  The oil prices are given through that time period.  Other old newspaper articles tell about the population of Dickinson, North Dakota going from 16,000 to 22,000, the struggle to build housing and infrastructure, and then the population going back to 16,000, leaving Dickinson with $25 million in debt.

I was surprised and amazed to see that the newspaper articles from the 1980s, that describe the boom and bust that occurred from about 1978 to 1984, describe almost exactly what happened here from 2005 to right now.  I didn’t know.  Nobody told me.  Who else knew?

I guess I am not the smartest person.  But how in the world did Halliburton, Baker Hughes, and Occidental build these huge buildings in Dickinson in 2012, and not know that they were at the end of the boom to bust cycle?  How did all of the large property developers that built about 1,000 new housing units in Dickinson in 2012, 2013, and 2014 not know that they were at the end of the boom to bust cycle?

I believe that I wrote somewhere in my blog, about being at the right place, at the right time, like Phoenix in the 1970s, or Tampa in the 1980s, where there was uninterrupted growth and expansion for the next thirty years.  Who knew?  I guess that there were some people that saw things clearly: warm climate, year-round activity, inexpensive property, easy to develop, vast amount of land available, no limit to expansion.  I thought that I would have liked to have arrived in Williston or Dickinson in about 2007, that would have been a great time to get here I thought.  After reading the website “A Brief History of Oil Production in North Dakota”, I realized that not only did you have to get to North Dakota at the right time, you would also have to have known when to get out.