Crystal ball needed to foretell 2018 construction season

Home construction was down in Minot in 2017 compared to 2016, which was no banner year either.

So, what will 2018 bring? Unless you have access to a working crystal ball capable of telling the future, you might just as well wish for the outcome you want. There are so many factors at play. More on those later.

As Minot Daily News reported earlier this week, in 2017 there were 53 permits for single-family dwellings, 33 for townhouses and five for two-family dwellings. That compares with 62 single-family homes and two two-family dwellings in 2016.

Locals who know the market in Minot better than we do say the construction picture could look much the same in 2018 … unless.

Here are some of those factors previously mentioned. Oil prices for one. If the oil economy picks up as some people think it will, Minot could share in some of the new growth.

However, Minot is overbuilt, some would say, so while oil jobs would be a positive they might not be enough to reverse the trend in home construction.

Another factor at play is just how much the federal government’s new tax plan will benefit the average family, including people who are now in the market for a new or better home.

Property taxes, too, have to weigh on the minds of people looking to commit to a new mortgage, even though the rates keep dropping. Mortgages are more affordable, but are people who would like to be in a new or nicer home less likely to take that leap before the city’s financial situation improves? Or while the value of existing homes are declining? Who knows.

Not to be forgotten is the ag economy and last year’s drought. A lot is riding on the ag economy; it impacts us all.

All the what-ifs mentioned previously are hypothetical questions at best, neither pessimistic nor optimistic in intent. What we can say for certain – without a crystal ball – is we don’t want to head into the planting season dry.