This winter has been challenging, the on-going extreme cold temperatures, snow and wind have tested our mental endurance. However, most of us can be thankful for a warm place to take shelter. Since January, the agency has been working on three legislative bills introduced to secure funding for North Dakota’s Housing Incentive Fund (HIF). After crossover last week, we are down to one. We are diligently working with committee members and stakeholders to express why HIF is critical for so many North Dakotans who are in need of housing that is affordable. As of today, $10 million is allocated to the program through Senate Bill 2271.
On Monday, I appeared before the Senate Appropriations Committee requesting that the Governor’s original recommendation of $20 million be added back to North Dakota Housing Finance Agency’s budget bill, House Bill 1014. The committee is well aware of HIF and just like everyone else, they are waiting until March 11th and 12th to see what the next state budget forecast looks like.
All of the HIF dollars provided to our agency have been obligated. If this legislative body does not support a new funding source for this state-funded program, NDHFA will only have the limited dollars provided by the federal government for rehab and development.
We also requested that the Essential Service Worker requirement be removed from the Century Code to provide more flexibility to address community-driven housing needs.
2018 was a major year for North Dakotans buying homes. The whole year trended higher than forecasted and in the end, NDHFA purchased the most loans in a non-event (i.e., natural disaster) year than ever before. We were surprised to look at our January’s home loan reservations and learn that despite the weather, January 2019 is trending above 2018! The state’s economy and quality of life have been instrumental in attracting people from other parts of the country and world and is helping to retain our youth after they complete high school and college. Providing them with affordable housing opportunities, both purchase and rental, is crucial to keep that trend moving forward.
I invite you to learn more about the future of North Dakota’s housing market by registering for the Statewide Housing Conference. “Housing North Dakota” which will be held May 20-21, 2019, at the Ramkota Hotel in Bismarck, ND.
NDHFA’s staff has organized a great line up of dynamic speakers focusing on federal, state and local trends influencing housing, a look at the future through demographics, and most importantly a session on how to use the provided information when planning. All of this is packed into the first day, the conference’s Policy Day. The second day of the event is dedicated to training specifically for our homeownership, property management and multifamily development partners. Lots of continuing education options will be provided too. Don’t miss out on this once a year opportunity to gain valuable insight and network with your peers.