- Associated Press - Sunday, May 8, 2016

DICKINSON, N.D. (AP) - Housing has gotten cheaper in Dickinson with the decline in the oil industry.

Continental Real Estate agent Neal Messer says that housing prices were so high in Dickinson at the height of the oil boom that people had to look elsewhere. With the drop-off in the oil industry, KXMB-TV (http://bit.ly/1rxkItj) reports people are coming back to Dickinson because rental properties are cheaper with the oil industry drop-off.

“They’re seeing that housing is more affordable and rentals are more affordable and they’re taking advantage of that opportunity,” Messer said.

City Commissioner Klayton Oltmanns stressed that housing prices have only returned to normal.

“Properties, apartment rents were all overpriced as we went through the oil boom,” Oltmanns said. “As things have settled in I think what you’re finding is that we are starting to drift back to what would be a normal level of property growth and value here in Dickinson.”

Debt of more than $100 million was incurred by the city of Dickinson during the oil boom’s height. Oltmanns said that to balance its budget, the city cut services that aren’t essential, including delaying projects and equipment and not bringing on additional staff.

Oltmanns said “our biggest challenge moving forward is going to be financial” with servicing debt, “providing the high level of service that we do to our community and carrying on with the projects that are going to be needed moving forward as well.”

The city doesn’t plan to increase property taxes, Oltmanns said.

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Information from: KXMB-TV, http://www.kxnet.com

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