Fargo's notoriety, at least as a pop culture reference, has been on the rise since the release of a Coen brothers' comedy in 1996 and recent success of the television series it inspired.
But when it comes to property values in the Fargo, ND-Moorhead, MN Metropolitan Statistical Area, the projected rise will be modest at best, according to projections contained in the Veros Real Estate Solutions' second quarter 2018 VeroFORECAST.
The VeroFORECAST report, released midyear, projects the appreciation of residential real estate values in more than 350 MSAs across the country for the 12 months from June 1, 2018 through May 31, 2019.
According to the report, properties in the Fargo-Moorhead MSA, which includes North Dakota's Cass County and Minnesota's Clay County, will appreciate at an average of 3.1% over the period. The detailed report shows Cass County, with a population approaching three times that of Clay's, will appreciate a little under 3%, while the Minnesota part of the MSA will appreciate more, at 3.7%.
Fargo-Moorhead is the cultural, retail, health care, educational, and industrial center of southeastern North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota. In addition to Fargo and Moorhead, core cities include West Fargo and Dilworth, Minnesota.
North Dakota has two mottos, and one of them, 'Strength from the Soil,' seems to indicate great foresight, as it not only applies to housing and other "above-ground" industries, but in recent years to the economy-boosting pursuit of the fuel hiding underneath it. A July 1, 2015 census estimate placed the MSA's population at 233,836, and while the VeroFORECAST data shows there has been a 15% rate of population growth over the past decade – more than twice the overall U.S. average of 7% – the oil boom may not be as strong as it once was. This has put pressure on this market, contributing to reduced demand and an increasing housing supply that explains the report's projection of relatively low real estate appreciation.
A U.S. News & World Report article in March of last year offered optimism, beginning the article, "This isn't your father's Fargo any more."
The reason to believe better fortunes are on the horizon, the story explained, was that North Dakota, among the nation's least populated (only Alaska, Vermont and Wyoming have fewer residents) and "geographically remote, stands among the top-five states in a broad measure of economic, educational, health and other metrics."
Despite the controversies that erupted around new extraction technology and incursion into native lands, oil and natural gas production are boosting the state's economy. There are jobs and the 2.9% unemployment rate here is well below the national average.
"Indeed it is the state's economic growth – No. 1 in the Best States rankings – that helped propel it to No. 2 in the overall measure of state economies," reported U.S. News.
Whatever may lie ahead for property values and energy priorities, the Fargo-Moorhead MSA has one more ace, and that's a Greater Fargo Morehead Economic Development Corporation busy trying to "accelerate job and wealth creation in Cass County, ND and Clay County, Minn.