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New Residential Building Permits Tank in Q4; Houses Less Affordable in South Dakota

Folks moving to South Dakota do appear to be affecting the housing market—to the good for sellers, to the bad for buyers. According to the Dakota Institute, housing prices rose faster in South Dakota than the national average in 2022:

The South Dakota market is a prime example where median listing prices more than doubled growth rates in national housing prices throughout 2022 – even after accounting for inflation effects, listing prices in South Dakota grew 17.4% annually, compared to 5.0% on the national level. This, paired with a staggering 100% increase in mortgage rates – from record lows of 3% in Q4 2021 to nearly 7% by the end of Q4 2022 – resulted in reduced affordability rates for South Dakota homebuyers for the first time since 2018, compared to 2021 at the national level [Aaron Scholl, “As Prices Persist, Affordability Takes a Hit,” Dakota Institute, 2023.04.03].

Dakota Institute reports that South Dakota still issued a truckload of building permits in 2022. New housing construction as measure by permits issued grew 24.8% in South Dakota over 2022, while new residential building permits declined 4.9% nationwide. But the national decline came due to a 22.2% decline in the fourth quarter. In South Dakota, Q4 building permits retreated even more, 45.6%.

Dakota Institute predicts that building permits should hold almost steady nationwide this year, declining only 0.1%, but in South Dakota, the think tank projects a 25.0% decline in new housing, contributing to a further sharp decline in the ability of South Dakotans to afford homes.


  1. larry kurtz 2023-04-12

    Why any non-tribal Democrats live in South Dakota is a supreme mystery.

  2. John 2023-04-12

    Larry, a few of us await for members of the silent generation to die.

    RE: SD housing market — It’s likely that, as recent data from Rapid City showed, that most or a plurality of people moving to South Dakota are old, post retirement old. Oldsters do not invest in communities, schools, affordable housing, or improving the quality of life in communities (outside of pickleball courts in every park). Old people moving to South Dakota will buy or build over-sized houses to store a lifetime of crap that no one wants, and to live the dream that maybe someday the grandkids will visit.

  3. Edwin Arndt 2023-04-12

    I visited with a guy that is building a house next to ours and according
    to him lumber prices have dropped considerably in the last year or so.

  4. Mark Anderson 2023-04-12

    You know I just read an article from Fortune about a couple in LA who make approximately 225,000 a year who can’t afford to buy. He’s a college assistant professor of public policy and he believes in YIMBY, yes in my backyard. He looks at what he calls insane structural barriers put in place. He compares the building after WWII which became illegal in the 1980s and made more so by NIMBYS across the country. Old farts like me are the beneficiary’s. His best quote “we don’t have to have a housing crisis, we are choosing to have a housing crisis.” His name is Stan Oklobdzija.

  5. 96Tears 2023-04-12

    There is a lot of finger pointing when politicians get involved in why housing is so expensive with no let up in sight. Home builders blame a lot of factors and want miracles to be performed to instantly reduce prices, usually by attacking regulations and zoning that protect safety and basic quality. Yet, I’ve never seen them drop their prices, reveal where they cut corners on a project or reduce their percentage payments from consumers. They and real estate brokers will shed crocodile tears in public hearings, but they’re laughing all the way to the bank.

    Face it. The people who set the price are the real estate brokers. The banks will lend the money to pay those higher prices. Consumers will continue paying outrageous prices on new and older homes, depending on location. Builders won’t set idle in protest of rising prices; they’ll continue receiving money from clients who don’t know any differently. And so it goes.

    While it is a valid concern, none of the controlling contributors to the dilemma appear willing to sacrifice. And that makes it even more troublesome that while this crisis in affordable housing (to middle-income and lower-income South Dakotans) reeks havoc, our deadbeat governor Noem decided to fire — out of spite — the only person qualified and experienced to develop a strategy to help resolve this crisis. Her name is Lorraine Polak, the former executive director of the South Dakota Housing Development Authority. She got canned because she wouldn’t help Noem hoard the $200-million investment in housing infrastructure ($50 million of which was gifted to our state by Joe Biden) created recently by the S.D. Legislature.

    I’m sure the Queen of Snowflakes has other uses for that big wad of cash that won’t involve solving the housing crisis. But prospective home buyers need to know that national trends are veering toward solutions to the housing crisis that involve smaller homes set closer together and with fewer amenities (like insulation, quality siding and fire protections, and plenty of corners cut to bring down that price point — allegedly). How much you wanna bet that consumers will realize a price break from a normally built home and a puny, lower quality structure on a tiny lot with much less comfort and room? It is to laugh.

  6. Mark Anderson 2023-04-12

    Well 96, I guess it’s only a trust fund baby market. My wife and I had a hard time coming up with 10,000 for a down-payment. Kids today can easily come up with 100,000 for that down-payment right? Oh well, by limiting the market and what it can produce will make me a rich guy when I die.

  7. Richard Schriever 2023-04-12

    96 tears, The Lennox City Council recently reduced lot size and side yard (spacing between houses) requirements for single family homes to accommodate a developer. That developer has built new homes at about 5X the rate that was initially projected and will likely fill the development about 10 years earlier to project at that rare (not likely IMO). There are a few benefits to that whole process to me re: my own property. The smaller side-yard means I can build a slightly larger “guest house” at the rear of my property without needing to rezone to multifamily. My utility rates will be going down (already reduced about 25%) due to there being more households/taxpayers to pay off street bonds. And finally, it will make my property more attractive vs. the cookie cutter sheds in the new development. Granted, they are not awful, and not really different to any other newer construction, but neither do they have fully sound-proofed interior walls and floors (for ex:) like mine, nor are they a short walk from the schools and parks.

  8. Edwin Arndt 2023-04-12

    If a school has several hundred students they can’t all be a short
    walk from the school.

  9. DaveFN 2023-04-12

    But they are coming, at least to Ellsworth in the Black Hills (and of course, Thune, Noem, et all will take credit for the “boom”).

    Apartments complexes are being built like crazy in Rapid City, and locals are already complaining the place “isn’t what it use to be.” The bombers from Ellsworth are already persistent noise menace.

    “Based on the report, the Air Force expects a 30% influx in personnel. Under current operations, active duty, civilian, contractors and family members total 10,596. After a transitional period that would include B-21 personnel plus 10% of B-1 personnel, roughly 13,700 people would be connected to the base.

    Then these numbers in turn effect schools, jobs, and the economy.

    Estimating that 2,300 family members would be school-aged, that means an additional 284 students in local area schools. For homes, the report says 2,900 houses will be needed in the area which is up nearly 2,000 more than what would be needed without the addition of the bomber.

    With the additional 1,600 active duty personnel (totaling 4,860 active duty) and existing 1,000 civilian and contractor workers, the report estimates an additional 2,100 jobs in the area to help meet demand for services. The Air Force values this increase at $86 million compared to $23 million without the B-21.

    To meet public service needs, a handful of health care workers and dozens of first responders may be needed in Meade and Pennington County or more during the phase-out process for the B-1 when both aircraft and their crews are stationed in the area.”,13%2C700%20people%20would%20be%20connected%20to%20the%20base.

  10. jakc 2023-04-12

    “Estimating that 2,300 family members would be school-aged, that means an additional 284 students in local area schools.”

    Interesting formula. Using it, the RC metro with 50,000 in growth should have added between 1,600 and 2,000 HS students in the last 50 years. It has not.

    And in the old days, a short walk from school in RC meant you lived in town. I am amazed to see my old grade school has built drive up lanes for parents to pick up or drop off their kids, in comparison to the expectation that all these kids could walk to and from school

  11. M 2023-04-12

    No one with kids is moving to Walworth County. In fact, Mobridge-Pollack School District is riffing 10 positions in the school next year. Of course with all the buses coming to town to pick up about 50 students and another 40 home-schooled. They need families with children desperately.

  12. Nick Nemec 2023-04-13

    Maybe the growth at Ellsworth and Rapid City will provide the voters needed to finally approve a bond measure to bulid a much needed third public high school.

  13. DaveFN 2023-04-13


    “Interesting formula. Using it, the RC metro with 50,000 in growth should have added between 1,600 and 2,000 HS students in the last 50 years. It has not.”

    Perhaps it’s not a formula to be used in any way for calculations, which as you indicate don’t pan out if one tries to do so, as much as simply being a poorly worded sentence.

    “Estimating that 2,300 family members would be school-aged, that means an additional 284 students in local area schools.” If taken literally, that means 2016 school-aged family members aren’t attending school, an extraordinarily high truancy rate.

    More likely what is meant is that an influx of 2,300 new Ellsworth personnel would translate into about 284 additional students in the school system, many of the new personnel being single, of course. In keeping with such a reading, Thune was quoted as saying that the bombers were “expected to potentially double the size of the base’s personnel by bringing 3,000 more service members.” 2300 is likely a more conservative number.

    (Military members, family members and civilian employees at Ellsworth currently total about 8,000.)

  14. DaveFN 2023-04-13

    Nick Nemec

    Technically, we currently have three public high schools in Rapid City.

  15. larry kurtz 2023-04-13

    There are some 2000 listings in the Black Hills right now according to

  16. Nick Nemec 2023-04-13

    DaveFN thanks for the link, I was unaware of this school. I assume the crowding issues at Central and Stevens still exist and will increase with air base expansion.

  17. grudznick 2023-04-13

    Mr. Nemec, that school is right down in the middle of it all. They have a fine theatre group as well which operates from their facility. I would tell you it’s a libbie community theatre group, but you would take that the wrong way. It is a really fine theatre group, if you like that sort of thing.

    Let it be known to you all that Rapid City High School is a really swell institution.

  18. grudznick 2023-04-13

    I bet Mr. H has a folder with the test scores from Rapid City, and I will wager a gravy laden and potato heavy breakfast with any of you that Rapid City High School has some pretty elite kids. Also, it is well known the teachers at the Rapid City High School are much higher, on average on the SILT. These are the sort of fellows who should be getting more raises, not those fellows over at RCC.

  19. grudznick 2023-04-13

    I looked it up. RCHS teachers score, on bulk, .93 higher on the SILT than teachers statewide, and 1.22 higher compared to just other Rapid City teachers.

  20. DaveFN 2023-04-14


    The teachers evidently are much better than the students, no?

    Rapid City Central High School Students:

    19% Took at Least One AP® Exam
    13% Passed at Least One AP® Exam
    40% Mathematics Proficiency
    59% Reading Proficiency
    35% Science Proficiency
    74% Graduation Rate

  21. grudznick 2023-04-14

    That’s all because of the social disadvantages those kids have. The fellows on this blog should be woke enough to realize it’s not these kids’ fault.

    Imagine how bad those scores would be if they didn’t have teachers who are higher on the SILT than most.

  22. DaveFN 2023-04-14


    Because of the social disadvantages?

    Some might rather say it’s the fault of those supposed to teach them, no matter how high the teachers’ scores on SILT.

    Or even for the very reason the SILT scores are so high that the teachers are unable to come down to the student’s level.

  23. DaveFN 2023-04-14

    Nor should we forget the preparation or lack thereof of these HS students in earlier grades.

    Defaulting to a reason of “social disadvantage” alone leaves unsaid multiple factors involved.

  24. DaveFN 2023-04-14

    Not should we forget the gargantuan philosophy that it’s better to pass students through rather than to “hold them back” when there’s a price to pay either way, whether sooner or later. In which cases essentially put aside the ideal, educated student altogether and instead displace the emphasis elsewhere in a place having nothing to do what it means to be educated.

  25. jakc 2023-04-15

    nick, correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t Rapid City High an alternative school? As I understand it, the kids, if they want to play sports, do so for Central or Stevens, and graduate from Central or Stevens. Perhaps that has changed.

    It’s nice to see the building reused, given its history as a school, but to me this shows in one sense what I have been talking about in terms of the aging of RC. 50 years, the school coudn’t hold all of RC Central, then a 10-12 school and needed annexes and the old Cathedral building. It was run like a small college, not a HS (open campus, no such thing as detention or study hall, very lax attendace policies) because they had far too many students for the space. If you didn’t want to go school, the attitude was See ya. There would easily be 200-300 dropouts before senior year. The district is doing a much better job keeping those kids in school, but the alternative school isn’t really growth in the demographic. There appear to be fewer 14-18 year olds in RC now, despite the population growth, than 50 years ago, and Central and Stevens graduate fewer students. Even if new RC High graduates its own seniors, the number of graduates from the three schools this year will be less than the number from Central and Stevens 50 years ago
    I realize this doesn’t include the religious schools, but Thomas More just replaces St Martins, and even adding in the Christian HS, I’m not sure its bigger

  26. grudznick 2023-04-16

    You are not wrong, Mr. jakc

  27. DaveFN 2023-04-17


    What is your definition of an “alternative high school,” since that phrase means many different things at many different high schools.

    The sole reference on their website to “alternative” is in the following:

    “RCHS is an alternative high school that believes in customizing the educational experience for every student according to the time, path, pace, and place of their learning. We believe that students should be empowered to experience education in a way that works for them, not just for the adults. As has often been said, “All children can learn, not just in the same way or on the same day.” ”

    (when I graduated from RC Central the year the school split and Stevens began, there were 512 in my graduating class)

  28. jakc 2023-04-17

    Dave FN

    By Alternative High School, I mean a school designed to keep kids in school who would have otherwise dropped out of high school rather than a regular attendance center with set boundaries. Drop-out rates 50 years ago were pretty high, so I am not disrespecting efforts to create a different environment for some kids, whatever their issues with Central or Stevens might have been. I know that both SF and RC have had these sort of alternative schools for many years, My point though is that while RC High is a third public HS, it is not a third (and fourth) public HS in the way that Jefferson and Roosevelt are in SF, and I think Republicans ought to be concerned about the lack of growth in school age demographic in RC

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