Published April 15 2012
South Dakota officials say North Dakota oilfield workers moving southSPEARFISH, S.D. — Realtors and city officials in Spearfish say North Dakota oilfield workers are moving to South Dakota, some making a more than five-hour commute on weekends.
Rick Tysdal, a real estate broker in Spearfish, said some of the buyers either want their families closer to where they work in North Dakota or aren't interested in living in the middle of the oil patch. Others are buying recreational property in the Black Hills area, he said.
The workers have plenty of money to spend and the price is right, Tysdal said. “They can afford a mid-range home, and can probably afford an upper-range home, but they're going to be conservative and not spend all their money on housing.”
Other workers are renting property, said Robyn Bailey, co-owner of a business that helps people find rentals. She said she has talked with four people who were relocating from North Dakota to Spearfish in the last two months.
“That's not a big number, but before it wasn't any at all,” she said.
Spearfish is about 300 miles from Williston, N.D., which is considered the hub of oil country.
Joe Neeb, Spearfish's city administrator, tells the Rapid City Journal that he has seen the impact oil workers have had on real estate.
“We have some families that are basically setting up their homes in Spearfish and they'll basically commute up there for the week and come back for the weekend,” Neeb said.
Kevin Campbell, executive director of the Spearfish Chamber of Commerce, said some workers will spend two weeks on the job in North Dakota and then two weeks off in South Dakota.
The workers spend money in the town and add to the tax base, Campbell said. Despite a down winter tourism season, he said sales tax revenue stayed on par. He believes oil workers added to that stability.
“We had no snow this year, so something had to drive it to be sitting where we were,” Campbell said.