City adopts housing study to guide planning

Submitted Graphic A graph from a Minot housing study shows the number of different types of housing units built between 1980 and 2020 in the city. Source: City of Minot, Stantec

A housing study that is expected to guide future land use planning in Minot was adopted by the Minot City Council Monday.

The city plans to distribute the study to residential developers and begin working on implementation, including adjustments to any ordinances and policies.

The study keys in on three areas where the greatest opportunity to influence housing needs exists – low to moderate housing, senior housing that allows aging in place and executive single-family homes and upscale apartments.

The study noted the high demand for housing, combined with limited inventory, have driven home prices up. However, it also determined the supply of moderate- to middle-income housing is adequate to meet local needs while finding a deficit in affordable housing units for lower income households.

Council member Carrie Evans said the shortage of affordable and workforce housing is a huge issue that ties into issues of daycare and workforce shortages.

“It is glaring in this report that there is a huge deficit for, particularly, our families that are on a single income, and there is no housing for them. So I implore us as a city to figure that out. I’m not saying we are the solution, but we can’t just be – ‘That’s not our job,'” she said.

The city contracted Stantec, a consulting firm, for $144,824 nearly a year ago to conduct the study. Stantec offered recommendations, such as encouraging accessory dwelling units, tiny homes, manufactured homes, more downtown housing, infill housing in areas now protected by flood levees, conversion of hotels to apartments, boosting the number of building trades workers and increasing the pool of developers. An initial analysis of the downtown Trinity Hospital building also found it may be conducive to rehabilitation for housing on its upper floors, and commercial or institutional use on its lower floors.

Having a housing study completed is one of the elements required for Minot to receive direct federal Community Development Block Grants under its recent designation as a metropolitan city.

The 158-page study found nearly 45% of renter households and 22% of homeowners are housing cost burdened, which means they pay more than 30% of their income in rent or home ownership costs. That’s a greater proportion than the state of North Dakota as a whole.

“Those are cost burdens that are increasing across the country,” said Tom Leighton, senior urban planner with Stantec. “Housing is becoming a more acute challenge and certainly one of the key things to be mindful of as you move into action in the future.”

Leighton encouraged the council to use economic development tools, such as Tax Increment Financing or tax abatements.

“Those tools are available to you and in the long run have a fiscal benefit for you,” he said. Any actions taken to encourage certain types of housing and increase housing production, whether financial or policy practices, change the market context and make housing prices as a whole more affordable, he said.

Among other findings of the study were:

– Based on preliminary drawings of future flood control structures, an estimated 455 additional properties will need to be acquired in order to construct the flood control structures.

– Due to the oil boom, Minot home values peaked as home prices stagnated in other locations. Outmigration led to a $60,000 drop in median home prices, which started rising again in 2020.

– Median home values have been appreciating fastest in the southwest quadrant of town.

— Rents have more than doubled since 2009 while incomes have increased by about 60%.

– Increased demand and undersupply from the flood drove rents up by nearly 78% from 2009 to 2018, with rents eventually stabilizing due to the oil crash and additional supply on the market. However, where home values plummeted more dramatically, rents have remained elevated, signifying some longer-term shifts toward renting.


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