Minot's new residential construction has slowed from the post-flood pace set a few years ago.
Permits this year through August show 80 single-family residences, 27 townhomes and 96 apartment units. That compares to year-to-date numbers of 123 single-family residences, 16 townhomes and 338 apartments in 2014.
Matt Geinert, vice president of Future Builders in Minot, said the market for pre-built homes or speculation construction has waned some, but the market for custom-built homes remains strong.
Workers set concrete forms outside a house under construction on Valley Bluffs, a street through a new subdivision near the Minot Country Club.
"The big thing is location right now," he said. "People want to be out in the new southeast Minot."
Much of the construction that Future Builders has been doing has been in southeast Minot is near the new Country Club and new elementary school, which are not far from existing south Minot shopping.
"We feel that the custom home market is going to stay strong in Minot for the foreseeable future," Geinert said. Future Builders is focusing on that demand for higher-end custom homes, although it still is doing spec homes and more moderately priced homes.
"Those buyers are still out there, but I also think they have a lot more choice," Geinert said of house hunters seeking the moderately prices homes. The number of people moving up and putting existing homes or bringing renovated flooded houses onto the market is helping meet the demand for houses by buyers looking for more affordable options, he said.
Home sale figures from Minot Multiple Listing, reported by the Minot Area Chamber of Commerce show 436 sales through July at an average sale price of $230,204. That compares with 461 sales through July in 2014 at an average price of $235,236. Including rural Minot, total home sales are somewhat behind last year at 592 compared to 612, and homes prices are slightly lower at an average of $223,204 compared to $226,442 in 2014.
Joel Feist, president of Real Builders, Minot, said housing construction has slowed, but the slowing comes after a swell in demand due to the destruction of homes from the flood.
"Over the last two years, the housing stock in Minot has kind of caught up with that demand," he said. "The market is going back to what we call a stabilized condition.
"A lot of the houses that are on the market are new homes, and that's good for the general public," he added. "There's quite a selection to pick from now. Prices have stabilized or even come down a little bit."
Feist predicts continued slow growth in Minot, although once oil prices revive, the market should pick up. Even now, many of the new homes his company has been building have been for newcomers to the community.
Commercial construction also has been good, and some companies like Craft Builders in Minot have turned most of their attention to that demand. Joe Kraft with Craft Builders said they have had to turn residential work away because of the backlog of commercial work. In addition to requests for new home construction, there's been a lot of interest in home remodels and additions as higher purchase prices prompt homeowners to update rather than invest in new properties, he said.
Through August, Minot has issued more than $110 million in building permits. Total building permits last year of $119 million compared with nearly $157.9 million in 2013.