Oil Boom Forces Employers to Be Landlords in North Dakota

Matt Grimshaw, who runs a hospital in Williston, North Dakota, and Dale Patten, head of a family- owned bank in nearby Watford City, had the same problem and found the same solution. Both went into the real estate business to attract employees.

Booming oil production means unemployment in Williams County is the lowest in the nation at less than 1 percent. That’s boosted the population of Williston, the Williams County seat which is 600 miles northwest of Minneapolis, by 28 percent in 10 years. The result is a housing shortage in which one- bedroom apartments rent for about $2,300 a month and families stay in single hotel rooms for weeks.