Natural resources fuel housing, population boom in North Dakota, Saskatchewan
Apparently, Saskatchewan's good fortune has spilled south of the border into North Dakota. The Wall Street Journal, with a headline screaming, "Resource-Rich States Surge," reported, "The states that weathered the recession best were the energy-rich states of North Dakota and Alaska."
I gave a call to Dan Deutsch of www.fargohomes.com to see what was happening in North Dakota's largest city.
"Our economy is good; unemployment is close to 3 percent; the state budget is in the black; we have few foreclosures; and homes on the market close in three months," he said.
The median home price in Fargo stands at $160,000, about where it was last year, and very close to peak, said Deutsch. While appreciation isn't great, the good news for Fargo homeowners is the last time the market saw a significant downturn in residential values was back in the 1970s.
From 1990-2000, the city of Fargo grew just over 20 percent, to about 91,000 people. In the past decade, Fargo grew another 10 percent to about 100,000. (The metro area counts about 200,000 people.)
According to Deutsch, business has been good, as he closed an average two home sales a month in 2010. "Loans are easy to get here," he said. "The banks aren't afraid to lend money."
For a long time, North Dakota, like Saskatchewan, had not been on anyone's radar as place to find work and live, but the northern Midwest states and provinces are finally having their day in the economic sunshine.
Steve Bergsman is a freelance writer in Arizona and author of several books. His latest book, "After the Fall: Opportunities and Strategies for Real Estate Investing in the Coming Decade," has been ranked as a top-selling real estate investment book for the Amazon Kindle e-reader.
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