Federal agency says Grand Forks rent is decreasing, local official disagrees
A federal housing agency said rent in Grand Forks has decreased, but local housing experts disagree. According to the 2015 fair market rents released by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development this month, typical rental rates in the ...
A federal housing agency said rent in Grand Forks has decreased, but local housing experts disagree.
According to the 2015 fair market rents released by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development this month, typical rental rates in the Grand Forks metropolitan area (including Grand Forks and Polk counties) are:
- $537 for a one-bedroom apartment.
- $719 for a two-bedroom.
- $973 for a three-bedroom.
- $1,173 for a four-bedroom.
This is down from HUD’s 2014 fair market rent calculations, which included $541 for a one-bedroom, $725 for a two-bedroom, $981 for a three-bedroom and $1,183 for a four-bedroom in Grand Forks.
But Terry Hanson, executive director of the Grand Forks Housing Authority, said HUD’s fair market rent calculations for Grand Forks, and throughout North Dakota, are inaccurate, mainly because of how the communities are grouped together. The study doesn’t take into consideration the economic differences between the western and eastern parts of the state, Hanson said.
The agency also uses the same methodology for North Dakota’s rent calculations as it does for more populous states, which essentially skews the numbers, he said.
“Did the rents go down in Grand Forks? No. And yet HUD lowered their fair market rates,” Hanson said. “I believe the methodology HUD is using is incorrect.”
It is more difficult for the Grand Forks Housing Authority to issue its HUD-regulated rental vouchers when fair market rents do not accurately reflect the local market. This is because the amount of assistance allowed by the vouchers does not match actual rent clients are faced with, Hanson said.
A look at Apartment Guide’s website for Grand Forks and East Grand Forks showed starting rents for one-bedroom apartments ranging from $510 to $900.
Oil Patch rents
HUD’s 2015 fair market rent data shows increases in rent in some areas of North Dakota, including the Oil Patch.
For example, Ward County, home of Minot, has the most expensive two-bedroom apartments in the state, at $1,142, according to HUD. Williams County, which includes Williston, comes in at third-most expensive with $1,078 for a two-bedroom.
The 2014 rent calculations put Ward County at $1,116 for a two-bedroom and Williams County at $1,053 for a two-bedroom.
North Dakota’s most expensive one-bedroom apartments are in Mountrail County at $922, according to HUD. Williams County is second-most expensive at $884.
The most expensive three-bedroom apartments, at $1,683, are in Ward County. Mountrail County has second-most expensive three-bedroom at $1,361, and Williams County has third-most expensive at $1,343.
Despite those increases in rent for the western counties, Hanson said the calculations are still not reflective of the actual prices across the state.
For example, Dunn County in western North Dakota had a decrease in rent by HUD’s calculations, but Hanson said the rent there probably actually increased because of the oil boom.
“We have not seen any of the rents start to trend down yet,” Hanson said. “People are still struggling to find places to live.”
However, with several new apartment buildings being built in Grand Forks and East Grand Forks, the rental rates should eventually start to decrease, he said.
On the Web: To see all of HUD’s 2015 fair market rent calculations, visit: http://bit.ly/1nTxzTT