Mandan experiences boom in residential building

North Dakota State Roundup

Published October 1, 1991  | October 1991 issue

While a slowing economy is not generally associated with improved construction activity, Mandan has been experiencing an increase in residential building that is tied, in part, to the recent slowdown.

According to Richard Barta, city building inspector and assessor, the city has been receiving more foreclosed properties recently and the city, in turn, has created special packaging to encourage sales to developers. For example, if foreclosed lots—which the city receives through the county when owners can't make tax payments—are selling for $1,200, the city may offer them for $600 on sales of 10 or more.

As of August, 33 home construction permits had been issued this year, compared to 24 at the same time last year—the best rate of increase in the state, according to Barta. The city assessor expects 60 permits by the end of 1991 for Mandan, a 20 percent increase over last year. Also, for the first time in two years Mandan, population 15,100, has issued an apartment construction permit, and two more are anticipated.

In addition to the new developments arising from foreclosed property, Barta also acknowledged the positive effects of low interest rates and the tighter—more expensive—real estate market of neighboring Bismarck. Bismarck's higher lot prices and generally more expensive homes have caused some people to live in Mandan and commute across the Missouri River to their jobs in Bismarck, Barta says. Bismarck has a population of about 50,000.

"Being next to Bismarck has really helped us," Barta says about the residential real estate market. "It's hard to compete these days. And I don't care where you are, the bottom line for most people is their monthly payment."

David Fettig