The North Dakota Hillbillies

I saw a map on Facebook from the Apartment Guide today that caused my head to do a 360 degree rotation.  Yes, that’s right – a full-on Linda Blair.  And yes, there was some foaming at the mouth as well.

And here is why – the Apartment Guide has pegged Williston, North Dakota as having the highest entry level rental market in the United States.  Higher than New York or Boston or San Francisco or Los Angeles on – number one on the top ten most expensive areas to rent.  But Williston isn’t the only North Dakota town on the top ten list.  Dickinson came in at number four.


Now, while I am sure that the data is not the most accurate representation of rental prices in Williston, I am sure that relative to all the other data it is accurate.  As such, whether or not the shocking $2,394 is exactly accurate or not – the fact still remains that Williston, North Dakota has easily elbowed out the others.  If you are a methodological soul you may want to know how the Apartment Guide folks came up with this map.  The Apartment Guide “tracked the average cheapest rent price for every town in the United States on December 31, 2013, meaning it took the price of each apartment community’s least expensive floor plan and averaged them for each Core Based Statistical Area (CBSA). ”

If you were to go to the map and look at a town such as Fargo you would see that the entry is $617.  I don’t know for sure whether that is truly the average cheapest rent price, but I imagine it isn’t more than a $100 or so off.  Which leads me to say that even if not perfect, the Apartment Guide’s map is seemingly accurate in regard to relativity.

And the reason for the 360 – well, I suspected that rents in Williston were becoming ridiculous relative to other places (see The promised land?), but now I have confirmation – as does everyone else.  In my mind, these exorbitant rental prices shine a negative light on North Dakota.  It makes it look as if we have not planned well – or at all – for this oil growth.  We look like The Beverly Hillbillies bumbling about with no inkling of how we should manage ourselves within this new reality.  I won’t point any fingers, but you can imagine for yourself who seems to have slipped right into the Jed Clampett role.

The State of North Dakota needs to start doing more to ameliorate the challenges in Western North Dakota.  There is no looking the other way and hoping it will solve itself.  It hasn’t and it won’t.  The Beverly Hillbillies might have been a cute sitcom, but the North Dakota Hillbillies is just a tragic reality show.

Day one thousand three hundred and twenty-one of the new forty – obla di obla da

Ms. C

1 Response

  1. tim haering

    Lowest rent apartment is pretty broad category. Shame they didn’t cut it buy square foot, bedrooms and baths. And what about the rental houses – there are a poopload of those where I live, mixed among the #2 and #3 top rental areas.

    Here in Concord, 20 miles outside SF, our 500 Sq ft one bedroomers are going for $1075. Same apartment 7 miles closer in Walnut Creek would be $1800. And you know how folks adapt, since wages are not commensurately higher hereabouts – bunches of folks pile into the space and dare the landlord to evict them – if the landlord even gives a rip.

    The “single families homes” surrounding us often have 3-6 cars parked outside. Or trucks. Trucks and SUVs are hugely popular here in supposed ecological minded CA.

    Not sure what you expect ND to do about it. Rent control ala NYC? Folks are charging what the market will bear. This is how John Galtian capitalism works. Things will change when folks stop paying the huge rent.

    “We do doodlley-do doodley-do doodley-do what we must muddily-must muddily-must muddily-must until we bust bodily-bust bodily-bust bodily-bust.” God bless you, Mr. Rosewater.


    Well do you, don’t you want me to make you, I’m coming down fast but don’t let me break you … Look out helter skelter helter skelter, Helter skelter

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