A new solution to getting more new homes built
By Neal A. Shipman
In the past year between 25 and 30 permits have been issued in Watford City for the construction of new single-family homes. While that number of permits for new homes may be good news for many North Dakota communities, it hardly dents the demand for single-family homes in Watford City that has seen its population grow to an estimated 7,100 people in the spring of 2019.
Finding the solution to getting new single-family homes built in Watford City or elsewhere in McKenzie County has been a challenge for city and county officials. And when they tried to get those new homes built at an affordable cost, the challenge became almost insurmountable due to high lot costs as a result of the infrastructure costs of building roads and installing water and sewer lines.
“Housing, workforce, retail and the availability of childcare are the biggest challenges I see that our community faces,” states Daniel Stenberg, McKenzie County Economic Development coordinator. “Having adequate housing really plays into getting more workforce, retail and childcare. So, among those issues, I view housing as really the most foundational challenge of our community.”
In an effort to stimulate the construction of affordable, single-family housing in mid-2019, the McKenzie County Job Development Authority (JDA) launched a Housing Development Subsidy Program that was designed to help home buyers recover $50,000 of their purchase price associated with the infrastructure costs.
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