October 12, 2011

New home construction picking up as city’s population grows

By Kate Ruggles
Farmer Staff Writer

A late spring gave John Dunlap, owner of Cascade Homes and the main developer of Veeder Estates, a run for his money.
But with Phase One complete and seven homes almost ready for sale, Dunlap is feeling pretty good about where he is sitting.
“All the front end work is done in Phase One,” Dunlap shares. “Phase One is the most difficult and expensive part.”
By front end work, Dunlap is referring to the process of moving dirt and plotting out the subdivision, getting plan approval and city permits, and laying access to the city’s water and sewer.
“Globally, the city has been great to work with, and specifically, with each different level of Phase One, they have been very helpful,” Dunlap states.
And now, with seven homes ready for purchase, Dunlap is hoping to put on the finishing touches before winter, and start selling those homes.
The homes are three bedroom, two bath, ranging from 1,500 to 2,000 sq. ft. and come with a 10-year warranty.
“Two homes have been pre-sold, and we’ve already gotten a lot of interest in the other five homes,” reports Dunlap.
Since Cascade Homes has held off on advertising until the homes were ready for sale, most of the interest has developed within the community.
“People are ready for an updated home, and they realize that their homes are worth more now than they have been, so a lot of community residents have shown interest in purchasing a new home,” Dunlap states.
According to Curt Moen, Watford City city planner, Dunlap is the only developer currently building single-family homes in Watford City.
“There are single-family homes being built, but it is by a single owner on one plot of land,” Moen states.
Moen also states that some are choosing to remodel their homes rather than build or buy new.
“The trend is the same, only much more of it,” Moen states. “We are still seeing large amounts of remodels and single-family home building permits, just a lot more of them.”
Whether people choose to build new, remodel, or buy new, it looks like they will start to have some options.
“Subcontractors are becoming more available now, because the amount of work available has been drawing them here,” says Moen. “And, most developers like Dunlap, bring in their own crews.”
Considering that Dunlap plans on building 24 homes by the end of next year, that means that his company will not be tying up resources that the do-it-yourselfers and subcontractors will need to complete their projects.
Dunlap was drawn to Watford City by his father-in-law, who is a long-time native of this area.
In 2009, he opened eight town homes near the Highway 23 Bypass. And in 2010, 72 extended-stay town home units were completed for rent, also near the bypass.
Now, with his sights set on Watford City’s north end, Dunlap is excited about what may be in store.