Buying a home in Dickinson is cheaper and less stressful than it was only a year ago, two of the city’s top Realtors said Friday.
Though the oil industry slowdown around Dickinson has led to lower average sale prices and more homes in the city being listed for sale, the overall residential housing market has remained strong and may be beginning to stabilize.
“They (prices) have definitely softened and buyers are now more cautious, so there’s more on the market,” said Ninetta Wandler, a longtime Dickinson Realtor. “But they’re not forced to buy yesterday. Before, if you had three houses to look at, you were lucky — and you didn’t have time to think about it.”
Compared to last year, there’s much more time for prospective homebuyers to think about a home purchase and to negotiate the price.
The average year-to-date sale price for residential property has fallen nearly 10 percent — from about $294,000 to $266,000 — according to the Badlands Board of Realtors’ market summary report for June.
Still, more than 84 percent of active listings last month were for homes priced above $200,000 — a decrease of only about 3 percent from last year — while more than half of the homes on the market at the end of June were listed between $250,000 to $400,000.
Don Paulson is trying to sell one of those homes in north Dickinson.
“I just want to downsize,” he said.
He may not have to wait long to do so.
In the past two days, there have been seven showings of his home. While Paulson hasn’t received an offer yet, he’s certain he will.
Shirley Dukart, president of the Badlands Board of Realtors, said homes were selling last year, on average, within 97 percent of their listing price. This year, that isn’t necessarily the case.
“The people who were moving here, they had to buy the homes with the prices on them,” she said.
There were 68 more homes on the market in June 2015 compared to the same month last year. However, the year-to-date increase in home listings is up about 13 percent, meaning more homes are on the market this summer than there were in the fi rst few months of 2015.
“You have a lot more choices right now,” she said.
That said, Dukart hopes builders don’t see those numbers and slow the number of single-family homes they build.
“That’s the whole thing, supply over demand,” she said. “We don’t want to stop building because then we’re going to be back where we were in a couple years. The oil will come back — it could come back overnight, that’s just how our economy shifts. Then we’ll be in the same pickle we were in in 2011.”
To put the rise of Dickinson’s home prices into perspective, Wandler said a house selling for $350,000 today would have probably gone for as low as $230,000 five to 10 years ago.
“That was a really nice house,” she said.
About one-third of the homes listed in Dickinson so far this year started at more than $300,000, a slight decrease from last year’s rate of 37 percent. Only about 18 percent of homes sold in Dickinson this year were purchased for between $100,000 and $199,999.
Rachel Jagunic has been in her new house for two weeks after spending eight years renting Dickinson apartments.
The older home “needs work,” she said, adding it was nearly impossible to find a house within her budget that didn’t need several updates. But, she said, it was the best her family could find in their price range.
“There’s stuff out there, but you have to be willing to put work into it if you want it to be updated or newer,” she said.
Jagunic said her family looked at several homes for almost a year before deciding on theirs. In that time, she watched as what she called overpriced homes remained on the market.
“People aren’t paying the prices owners are asking for them, and they know they have a little more of an option now,” she said.
Dukart said the biggest issue concerning the local housing market moving forward this year is a potential rise in interest rates. As of Thursday, the market interest rate was a little more than 4.1 percent.
“That’ll definitely affect prices,” she said. “The minute the interest rates climb, the home prices go down.”
Overall, however, Realtors said they expect residential housing market to remain where it is in the coming months.
“I think it’s going to kind of level out here,” Wandler said. “I don’t think they’re going to go down.”