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WDAY: The News Leader

Published April 18, 2012, 10:18 PM

Western ND oil boom pushing people to move east

Valley City, ND (WDAY TV) - Valley City could be on the brink of a housing boom. As the oil industry is bringing in thousands of new people west of the Missouri River, it's also pushing some out.

Valley City could be on the brink of a housing boom. As the oil industry is bringing in thousands of new people west of the Missouri River, it's also pushing some out. It's because western North Dakota is losing what people lived there for - the small town North Dakota life. Traffic is unreal, crime is through the roof, and cost of living is out of control.

Pete Sherman – Valley Reality: “Something that sells for $40-50,000 around here probably sells for $250-300 out there."

Valley City realtors are in the process of closing on 4 homes right now, people who are turning a profit from their home out west, and then getting back to a pace of life they're used to.

Pete Sherman: "Walmart in Dickinson it doesn't matter if it's 2 in the morning or 10 in the morning it's lines constantly."

This potential boost couldn't come at a better time for Valley City. It’s been through 2 major floods in 4 years. Population is down 3.5% from the 2000 to 2010 census. That's 6,800 people to now less than 6,600.

Compare that to Dickinson's 11% growth. It went from just more than 16,000 to a couple hundred short of 18,000. Williston is sitting on a 17% rise. That's an increase of 12, 500 to a cool 14, 787.

Valley City's new city administrator spent the last 12 years in Dickinson. He has seen what the oil has done.

David Schedlkoph – City Administrator, Valley City: “Had rumors of people in McDonalds making $20 an hour just to flip a burger."

Realtors say it's things like that - bread, coffee - just cost of living is doubling out there. One of the many horror stories they're hearing as people move east to get back to normalcy.

Sherman also said it looks like older Americans will be the first to make the move east.

Realtors and rental owners in Jamestown say they're feeling this overflow as well. They say in the last month they've been busy answering to inquiries from people out west looking to make the move.

One difference for Jamestown is that a lot of the people looking here want to move their family, and someone would then commute to the oil patch. Either way, it's tax dollars moving in.

Candice Dempsey – Reuben Liechty Realtors: “I think this will just speed up our growth, we get rental phone calls every day and we don't do rentals but we try to direct them to possibilities because they need a place to live.”

LIke Valley City, Jamestown had a decline in population from the 2000 to 2010 census.

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