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Williston, N.D.: Oil rush doubles population in just a few years, creating huge demand for housing

Perhaps you’ve seen or heard a story about Williston, North Dakota, the Great Plains boomtown that nearly doubled its population from 2009 to 2011. A modern day black-gold rush has everyday laborers flocking to western North Dakota for the promise of overnight prosperity and boundless opportunity. A byproduct of the boom: Builders simply can’t keep up with the housing demand.

According to, “Williston has gone from approving the construction of between five and 10 housing units per year in 2008, to issuing residential permits in 2011 for 2,131 single-family homes, rental apartments, manufactured homes, and hotel units.”

Opportunity abounds for builders in the region, which is why the town just launched a marketing program called, “Build Baby Build”

“Build Baby Build!” is intended to be a pro-active slogan to encourage developers, builders, investors and families to make a long-term commitment to our community as we know that every home is an opportunity for another family to take advantage of the American Dream and all that Williston has to offer,” said Tom Rolfstad, executive director of Williston Economic Development (WED).

From a builder’s perspective, Williston’s population explosion presents a fascinating, if not surreal set of circumstances. Thousands of young, single men are earning more than $100,000 per year and many have been relegated to temporary housing. It’s possible no place in the United States has experienced this kind of housing demand in decades.

If you were a builder in the region, would you tap into the booming Williston housing market?

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Categories: housing, industry news

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