The worst place in the nation to be writing out the monthly rent check? Not Manhattan—by a long shot. Rather, the rapidly growing North Dakota oil patch city of Williston has the highest average rent in the United States. A 700-square-foot, one-bedroom apartment in Williston costs an average of $2,394 a month, according to an Apartment Guide study. The same apartment would cost $1,504 in the New York area, $1,411 in the Los Angeles area or $1,537 in the Boston area. Nearby Dickinson, ND, ranks fourth on the list at an average of $1,733 a month. Boston is sixth, New York is seventh, Los Angeles is eighth. Chicago didn't even crack the Top 10.
The population of Williston has more than doubled since 2010, but developers have lagged behind the influx of oil field workers, whose sometimes six-figure salaries can bear inflated rent and have caused a shake-up in housing supply and demand. Williston city officials recently established an Affordable Housing Committee to look at how the community can encourage more developers to build with reasonable rental rates and home prices. "I think they are optimistic the oil boom will be around for the next 20 years because of the different levels of oil they now have access to through fracking," says an Apartment Guide rep. "I just don't know with the weather that many people who are working in the oil fields will stay for more than a couple years."