Pop quiz: Which town in America has the average highest rent?
If you were guessing a swanky high-rise in Manhattan or some beachfront property in Malibu, you would be dead wrong. In fact, there’s a good chance you’ve never even heard of the city that tops a recently released list: Williston, N.D.
Sitting 80 miles south of the Canadian border, Williston’s population of 18,000 makes it only the eighth largest town in North Dakota, but the average price for a 700-square-foot apartment clocks in at $2,394.
Of course, that’s on the low end: A three-bedroom, three-bathroom apartment costs about $4,500 per month, according to ApartmentGuide.com, a website for apartment hunters.
The reasoning is pretty simple: Thanks to an oil boom in the Bakken Shale Region — which has contributed to the state’s meteoric rise in millionaires — the town has seen an influx of oil workers.
With few apartments available to rent in the town that has nearly doubled in size the past three years, the cost to rent has skyrocketed, something the town’s new wealthy residents (many of whom make well into the six figures) are happy to pay.
That’s also added to an increase in construction as new apartment complexes are sprouting from the ground faster than oil wells.
“I think they are optimistic the oil boom will be around for the next 20 years because of the different levels of oil they now have access to through fracking,” said Pam Winter, Apartment Guide’s regional sales executive for North Dakota. “I just don’t know with the weather that many people who are working in the oil fields will stay for more than a couple of years.”
A few facts of Williston:
- For those with money, there’s no great place to spend it on luxury goods as the town’s primary shopping center is Wal-Mart.
- Not a great place to meet people as the number of men outnumbers women 12 to 1, so good luck finding a date for Saturday night.
- Williston’s most famous celebrity is Phil Jackson, the legendary basketball coach who spent some of his youth in town and attended the town’s high school.
Rounding out the top 10 costliest cities for renters: San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif. ($1,881), San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, Calif. ($1,776), Dickinson, N.D. ($1,733), Key West, Fla. ($1,640), Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, Mass.-N.H. ($1,537), New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, N.Y.-N.J.-Pa. ($1,504), Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, Calif. ($1,411), Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, Calif. ($1,387), Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-Goleta, Calif. ($1,346).