Housing discussed

WILLISTON — Representatives of the apartment, real estate, and oilfield employers spoke to their understanding of the housing market as it stands today as part of Thursday’s day two of the Williston Job Fair. And for those that have committed to Williston, there are a lot of incentives for those seeking permanent residence.

“One of the biggest fears we’ve heard from potential buyers is, ‘I don’t want to buy a house at the top of the market and it be worth half,’” said Jeff Zarling of Dawa Solutions on housing prices leveling out. “This is one of the few markets in the country where a homebuyer has that perception. Most homebuyers look at a home purchase as an investment in their future.”

Prior to the gates opening for the veterans preference period at the second day of the Williston Job Fair, a housing roundtable was held in the early morning to allow industry professionals a chance to speak to the housing market and how that might affect long-term Williston.

Apartment companies were pitching to potential occupants by throwing in more options than their competitors. Lease protection in case of layoffs, month-to-month lease agreements, and preferred employer pricing were also safeguards promised to put potential renters at ease.

“We’re trying to overcome some of the concerns people have coming in,” said Greystar Regional Manager Meghan Molina.

Service Director of Marketing for National Rentals, Stephanie Eslinger, said her company offers  slightly different business model where renting is only a starting point. Those with lackluster credit can quickly turn around their rating through credit counseling programs and better understand their financial literacy until they reach a point where homeownership is viable.

“People’s financial condition likely has one of the most significant impacts on their day to day attitude, and their effectiveness as an employee,” said Zarling. “If you want to have an impact on an employee’s life, provide them with those tools.”

Lee Lusht, Real Estate Agent for Bakken Realty, said housing stock inventory has increased 25 percent year over year, which has kept realtors “passing each other like ships in the night busy.” The homes that have come online have given families more to choose from as they look to transition from apartment to houseliving.

FHA loan limits have been raised in the area to $317,000 in the past year to help get cash-strapped people into a home without needing the traditional 20 percent down. The USDA loans can also be taken advantage of due to the ‘rural’ region designation, which helps potential buyers with lower income levels.

“Anyone on the production side has been busier than they’ve ever been,” Zarling said. “We’re moving to that point we’ve talked about for years of normalcy and stability.”

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