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.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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