Tags: Retirement | retirement | North Dakota | cost of living

Retirement Cost of Living in North Dakota

By    |   Thursday, 11 Jun 2015 12:17 AM

Within the last decade, North Dakota went from one of the most affordable places to live and retire to having a town with the highest housing rates in the country. While a swing this huge certainly could not occur overnight, there was a definitive precipitating event: the discovery and use of a large oil deposit – the largest in the lower 48 states, according to ABC News – beneath the state's surface.

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The excitement of a new source of 4.3 billion barrels of oil, according to estimates in 2008, brought countless people into the state hoping to break into the burgeoning North Dakota industry. However, this influx of inhabitants significantly raised prices in all areas of living, especially housing. This remarkable shift in economy and population is what led to Williston, North Dakota, becoming the most expensive town to live in in the country.

However, as time went on and the world oil market changed, oil prices nationwide dropped to some of their lowest points in decades. This plummet, timed in the middle of North Dakota's big boom, did not do the state any favors, but it did not cripple the fledgling economy, either. Housing prices have maintained their high averages, and National Public Radio reports that while oil production in the state has dropped about 40 percent from last year, it is already on the upswing from its lowest point.

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So, what has all of this done to the cost of living in North Dakota? Whereas a decade ago the state's cost of living was well below the national average, it is now slightly above. Sperling's Best Places compares different facets of the cost of living in North Dakota to national averages, to which the site assigns a benchmark score of 100. North Dakota's overall cost of living is scored as 105, so it is five "points" above the national average. The state's most expensive area is housing, which scored an alarming 117 – nearly 20 percent greater than the average housing costs across the country. The good news is that North Dakota boasts low utility and transportation costs, earning scores of 83 and 95, respectively.

Given the fast changes in North Dakota's economy spurred by the evolution of its oil industry, the cost of living in the state is somewhat volatile. At the moment, finding decent and affordable housing is a big problem, but once settled there, other living expenses are quite reasonable.

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Within the last decade, North Dakota went from one of the most affordable places to live and retire to having a town with the highest housing rates in the country.
retirement, North Dakota, cost of living
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2015-17-11
Thursday, 11 Jun 2015 12:17 AM
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