Lately, there has been a lot of heated debate arising out of the soaring rents seen in San Francisco, as Silicon Valley's professional class keeps advancing northward up the peninsula. And Manhattan's rents have long been jaw-droppingly outrageous. But now, a new city takes the top for the nation's most expensive living accommodations -- Williston, North Dakota.
Not too long ago, people were fleeing North Dakota in droves -- the state had actually seen a decline in population over the decades. Now, several years into an oil boom that has made it the second-highest oil-producing state after Texas, North Dakota's resources, infrastructure and housing stock are being stretched beyond capacity.
A survey of U.S. metropolitan areas by Apartment Guide finds Williston, North Dakota leading in rental rates to the tune of about $2,000 a month for a one-bedroom apartment and $4,500 a month for a three-bedroom place. Dickinson, a couple hundred miles away, is the fourth most-expensive area in the country.
As Courtney Craig writes in Apartment Guide, the town has doubled in size in just the last three to four years:
"Williston was a quiet, agricultural town of about 14,700 when the 2010 Census was taken, but now it produces more oil than any other site in the country, and its population has swelled to about 30,000 people. The oil boom has created many high-paying jobs in the area, and apartments can’t be built fast enough to accommodate the influx of workers – many of whom make six figures per year. The apartments that are already there are in high demand, so they get snatched up immediately, and for a pretty penny."
Here are Apartment Guide's most expensive metropolitan areas in terms of entry-level monthly rent:
- Williston, ND: $2,394
- San Jose, CA metro: $1,881
- San Francisco, CA metro: $1,776
- Dickinson, ND: $1,733
- Key West, FL: $1,640
- Bridgeport, CT metro: $1,601
- Boston, MA metro: $1,537
- New York City, NY metro: $1,504
(Thumbnail Photo: U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.)