City employees feel housing crunchCity employees are frustrated about the effects the housing shortage in Dickinson is having on them.
City employees are frustrated about the effects the housing shortage in Dickinson is having on them.
At least one existing employee is having trouble finding an adequate place to hang his hat and several other potential employees have turned down offers because they were unable to afford housing based on the salary offered, according to a support document for Monday’s City Commission meeting.
“This theme of applicants being offered positions and declining them due to low salaries or the inability to secure adequate housing based on the salary offered has been repeated several times (this year),” according to a memo addressed to the City Commission written by City Administrator Shawn Kessel. “Applicants for entry-level positions in the public works department are few with average applicant scores decreasing.”
The inability to hire staff is negatively affecting the current staff’s morale, according to the document.
“They are asked to complete additional tasks due to staff turnover and growth-related duties as well,” according to the document.
This year the average sale price for a pre-built house in Dickinson is $194,800, according to the Badlands Board of Realtors Multiple Listing System, said Continental Real Estate Inc. Broker Steve Schwab.
“The cost of new construction is competitive to the cost of existing houses,” Schwab said. “We are seeing a lot of new construction because of the demand, no, need for it.”
Schwab said when buying property, some things that come to play into payment are the interest rate (determined by financial institution), insurance (both type and cost) taxes and what buyers ultimately pay for the house.
“The cost of the house is completely market driven,” Schwab said. “It depends on what buyers are willing to pay and what sellers are willing to accept.”
He said rent is also market driven.
“Renters are going to ask for what they feel is fair or is market value,” Schwab said.
He added Dickinson’s strong economy is driving the market.
“The fact that availability has not kept up with demand is pushing prices up,” Schwab said. “We have a higher demand than supply.”
Schwab said this trend will continue in the short term, but the long term is yet to be seen.
“I’m not making any predictions on that,” Schwab said.
When asked how much of one’s earnings should be budgeted for housing Ron Luff of Your Financial Center said it depends on the person. “But it’s significantly different than a couple years back.”
The average wage in Dickinson is $34,983, according to a Job Service North Dakota publication dated 2009.
According to Realtor.com’s home affordability calculator, a person making $35,000 per year with no debt and a $20,000 down payment is eligible for a $120,600 mortgage at 5.625 percent interest.
The City Commission meeting is 4:30 p.m. Monday at Dickinson City Hall.