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Dickinson real estate market deals with major changes

Press Photo by Katherine Grandstrand Even though most of the growth is happening in west Dickinson, where this Second Street for-sale home shown here Friday is located, no neighborhood is being left behind in the housing market, Dickinson real estate agents said.

In the next year Dickinson is expected to make several dramatic changes. The first big-box store in more than eight years will open, construction is expected to begin on several other retail spaces on the west side of town, and a new clinic and hospital will be opening.

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The real estate market is booming because of all the changes, even in areas where changes may not be perceived as a positive.

Despite uncertainty surrounding the future of St. Joseph’s Hospital’s Seventh Street location, the sale of houses in that area has not been hindered, said Diane Duchscher, broker and co-owner of The Home and Land Company.

“You’ve got older homes in that neighborhood and that appeals to particular markets,” Duchscher said of the central part of Dickinson, where the hospital is located. “With the hospital moving to the west side of town, I don’t believe that will have a major effect on the homes in that neighborhood.”

The housing supply has caught up with the demand and home purchasers have a larger inventory to select from, said Joe Frenzel, owner of Everett Real Estate. Prices, while still rising, have softened.

“I’ve seen some pretty substantial decreases in listed prices on homes, but generally speaking we still have a good, good market,” said Jim Schmidt, broker at LaDuke and Associates.

The type of house often dictates which Dickinson neighborhoods home buyers gravitate to, Frenzel said. Someone looking for a modern home wouldn’t look at a house older than 10 to 15 years, but new construction often comes with $20,000 to $30,000 worth of extra work in landscaping and other finishing touches.

The new areas of the city will have their own appeal, Duchscher said.

“All they’re doing is building new houses around it,” Schmidt said of the new St. Joseph’s and new Sanford Clinic, which is set to open in February. “They have a bunch of multi-family units and some larger 24-, 34- (and) 42-unit apartments up there. But they’re going to need them up there and it’s good that they can house the nurses and whoever close by because Mother Nature can throw us a curve every now and then.”

The retail centers planned for west Dickinson will also be a boon, Duchscher said.

“We still lose a lot of purchasing power over to Bismarck just because they have so much more to offer,” Duchscher said. “With our growth, we should be seeing more retail stepping up to the plate.”

The improvements going into the city this year, especially the water and sewer upgrades, should allow the housing inventory to fully catch up with the demand, said Frenzel, a former city commissioner.

“The growth we’re seeing is just exciting,” Duchscher said. “You can’t keep a community stagnant. You’re either growing and energizing or you’re dying.”

Katherine Grandstrand
I graduated from Bemidji State University in 2007 with a bachelor's degree in mass communcations, from Columbia College Chicago in 2009 with a master's degree in journalism.  
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