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F-M Housing Needs Analysis & Strategies

Category: Build-Remodel-Topics

Study highlights need for 16,400 units over the next 10 years

by Bryce Johnson, Home Builders Association of F-M CEO


Your HBA of F-M is closely monitoring activities related to a F-M Housing Needs Analysis and Strategies report released over the summer. We are excited to assist and collaborate with regional leaders as they develop plans addressing the housing shortage crisis we all face. It is our hope that our region takes an action-oriented approach to the challenges identified in the study.

At the FMWF Chamber of Commerce's July Eggs & Issues event, I was honored to be part of a panel discussion representing your HBA. Please take a few moments to browse the overview of key takeaways  presented by Erin Lonoff, HR&A Advisors, the study's senior consultant.

Arguably the most shocking statistic: the analysis highlights a need for 16,400 additional housing units over the next 10 years. It also emphasizes the necessity for a region-wide partnership to tackle housing challenges. As a builders association, we see a strong need for more investment and incentives for partnerships between public and private entities.


First, a little background: this study is the result of a community-wide effort between Metropolitan Council of Governments, Fargo, Moorhead, West Fargo, Horace and Dilworth, and a broader group of local stakeholders.

The goals of the study are: to promote regional coordination for housing strategies and educate city and county staff, elected officials and residents on key housing challenges. It also focuses on helping current residents stay, grow and age in the region and accommodating our new population and job growth by supporting a diversified housing stock.

The panel in July discussed the need for education among potential homeowners. It is worthy to note that supporting current residents and promoting homeownership along with inviting new residents to the area, has the potential to support job growth. 


Pictured above: HBA of F-M CEO Bryce Johnson (right) speaks at the FMWF Chamber of Commerce July’s Eggs and Issues event. The panel presentation was moderated by Rocky Schneider (left), Fargo Planning Commission. Other panelists included Jon Youness (second from right), EagleRidge Development and Erin Lonoff (second from left), HR&A Advisors, Inc.


I’d like to highlight a few nuggets of information that are crucial to our industry in being able to offer the critical housing types:

  • Factors impacting housing affordability include but are not limited to land cost and a shortage of developable land in various jurisdictions.
  • The study identifies a need for 2-to-9-unit housing, otherwise called the “missing middle”, which across the country is the newest buzz word. This segment of housing seems to be a prevalent type of product that is challenging for our area to provide.
  • In our region, this category is not being produced because builders are focused on providing products according to what consumers can afford. It is important to remember that building is market driven.
  • The challenge of producing products in this category is that they are not feasible to build at an affordable rate to rent or own with existing building codes.
  • The International Building Code and the International Residential Code vary from state to state, which impacts what products are developed. Regionally, this study suggests looking at these codes to see what could be addressed.
  • Additionally, the question we ask ourselves is: How can we determine ways to keep land costs at a reasonable price, assess regulations and provide this type of housing at an attainable and affordable level?

The good news is that HBA of F-M, community builders and regional leaders are already collaborating to answer these very questions. We are hopeful to be part of the conversation as our region continues to address our housing challenges in innovative ways.

Are you interested in getting involved with the HBA of F-M's advocacy efforts? Reach out to Education & Public Affairs Coordinator Elizabeth Kosel at (701) 232-5846.