Rent prices dropping in Williston, but still not affordable for everyone

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WILLISTON, N.D. - It wasn't that long ago that it was nearly impossible to find affordable housing in Williston. However, recent times show that's changing.

Just a few months ago, Corry Donis was paying $1,500 a month for a two bedroom home.

"The two bedroom was really expensive for us. So we decided that we needed a bigger home, planning on building a family and stuff, so we decided to move, and we now pay $840 for a three bedroom," says Corry Donis, renter.

Not only was Donis able to save on rent, but her new apartment came with plenty of new amenities.

"Our new place, we have a washer, we have a dryer, we have a dishwasher, we even have central air conditioning in our house. So it's a big deal for us that we moved from having to pay $1,500 to having to pay only $880 for a three bedroom," says Donis.

According to area rental companies, the occupancy rate has stabilized at around 73 percent, and rent prices have dropped about 50 percent from this time last year.

A one-bedroom apartment averages about $750, a two-bedroom is under $1,000 a month and a three-bedroom is around $1,250. On average, companies are offering one month of free rent to new tenants.

Not everyone is experiencing lower prices, however.

"So this year, a lot of our tenants have seen rent go up anywhere from $25 to $300, which is significant for those individuals in our program," says Susan Granrud, Williston Housing Authority Executive Director.

The Williston Housing Authority's rent prices are based on numbers from the state Housing and Urban Development program. Those numbers are only updated annually. The past year’s higher prices were already set.

"We have several tenants who have decided they couldn't afford it anymore, they moved out, they moved in with family. We have tenants that are looking at getting roommates," says Granrud.

But with rent prices dropping, next year should be better for Williston Housing Authority tenants.

Granrud says the Williston Housing Authority still has a long waiting list for new tenants.