2023 a Was Good Year for Moorhead Housing

Nancy Edmonds Hanson

When Moorhead leaders look for future growth, the need for more housing often comes up first. Kristie Leshovsky has good news for them: 2023 was a banner year.
“Moorhead issued the highest number of residential building permits in the last five years,” the community development director told the city council Monday. Permits for single-family homes in the post-pandemic years reached 111, an 82% increase over 2022, while a 62% boost in multi-family units will add 224 apartments to the city’s rental inventory.
While nearly double the number of residential permits issued in 2022, last year’s number is still below the average of 131 new houses reached over the past decade. The greatest number of permits, 50, was issued to Jordahl Custom Homes. Diamond Rock Development received permits for 14, and J.V. Hough for 12. A total of 18 firms had built or were building single-family homes at the end of 2023.
At the same time, sales of existing home were the lowest since the pandemic. In 2021, 799 were purchased at a median sales price of $229,000; the next year, comparable numbers were 671 and $240,000. In 2023, she reported, just 484 sales were recorded, but the median price was up to $260,000.
Developers filed permits for three large apartment buildings – Enclave’s Compass Apartments at 500 30th Ave. S., part of a complex that will ultimately include 210 units, and Sterling Properties 105-apartment Fairmont Flats at 801 Second Ave. N. A permit was also issued for the 36-unit Silver Lining Apartments being built for permanent supportive housing.
Meanwhile, specialized housing numbers also grew. Eventide Senior Living’s Sanders Flats, designed for 55+ renters, was in its final stages. Affordable units were also completed at the Emery Apartments on 30th Avenue South, with 52 of its 130 apartments designated as affordable. North Moorhead Village at 2781 Eighth Ave. N. added 46 to the local housing stock.
Leshovsky detailed the incentives that the city offers to encourage housing construction. New homeowners qualify for a two-year property tax rebate, starting when their house is completed. Last year, 218 homeowners received the tax incentive. The program, called “Make Moorhead Home,” is due to expire at the end of 2024.
The Downpayment Assistance program helps income-eligible home buyers with down payments. Working in partnership with Minnesota Housing, 45 loans were provided across Clay County last year. They amounted to more than $8 million. The citywide incentive is a loan for first-time home buyers that defers $5,000 at zero interest.
A third incentive, Leshovsky reported, was not used at all in 2023. First-time home buyers can qualify for the program to defer $5,000 (at zero interest) toward special assessments on their newly built home.
Finally, Gate City Bank works with the city to keep mature neighborhoods strong by helping homeowners reinvest in their older homes. Twenty-three homeowners applied for the low-interest loans in 2023.
As for multi-family incentives, development projects with four or more units may be eligible for a property tax exemption for new construction, expansion or rehabilitation of existing facilities. Three have received exemptions in the past year: Silver Linings Apartments, Block 37 Flats and 12th and Main Apartments. Exemptions and employee credits have been awarded to other housing projects that provide health-related services; Farmstead Care, Arbor Park Living Center, Lilac Homes and Beehive Homes have all received them in the past.
The community development director told council members that’s there are plenty of residential lots available to accommodate future growth. “We have 287 fully serviced, buildable lots available in various subdivisions,” she said, including Horizon Shores and Kendalls on the east central margin of the city and nine south of Interstate 94, including Johnson Farms, Prairie Parkway, Village Green, Tessa Terrace, Allison Parkway, Hampton Place, Stonemill Estates, Prairie Meadows and Shepherd Meadows. At the current rate of growth, she said, that amounts to about two years of building at the present pace.

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