McKenzie County JDA Housing Programs Continue To Be Successful


February 10, 2021 | View PDF

In June 2019, the McKenzie County Job Development Authority (JDA) started two programs designed to help defray infrastructure costs for qualifying housing projects in McKenzie County. 

“Our goal has been simply to help generate incentive for more quality single family housing to be built, as that has been identified as one of the greatest barriers to further economic growth in our community. Once the funds are exhausted, we are not looking to continue the programs as we hope that the market will be able to take over getting the needed housing built,” stated Daniel Stenberg, McKenzie County economic developer and McKenzie County Job Development Authority executive director.

The two programs are the Housing Development Subsidy program and the Shovel-Ready Lot program.

The Housing Development Subsidy program provides a development subsidy of up to $50,000 per single-family house in McKenzie County.

In order for a house to qualify for this program, it must be a newly constructed site-built house that meets the quality requirements detailed in the application process. A qualifying house must be located within the city limits of Watford City, Arnegard, Alexander, or in an approved County Subdivision.

The homebuyer’s loan amount cannot exceed the FHA Mortgage Limit. The Development Subsidy amount will be adjusted based on the purchase price of the house and if it is built with complete or limited infrastructure. Complete infrastructure includes a curb, gutter, sidewalk, municipal water, municipal sewer. This qualifies for a development subsidy of up to $50,000 per house.

Limited infrastructure includes municipal water and municipal sewer in a city; or in a county subdivision that has improved gravel road and septic. This qualifies for a development subsidy of up to $25,000 per house.

This program has proven to be successful in 2020. So far, JDA has had a total of 19 houses close, which resulted in $7,143,775 in cumulative sales price - JDA’s overall investment in those houses was $925,000. Each of those houses pay approximately $2-3k in annual taxes and provides quality, long-term single-family housing for McKenzie County. 

The Shovel-Ready Lot program was designed to trigger residential construction that would have the ability to benefit from economies of scale and provide a cross-section of in-demand, affordable single-family housing products located on efficient to serve lots in residential subdivisions.

The program’s goal for 2020 was to provide 90-110 affordable shovel-ready lots in the year of 2020 through JDA sponsored public infrastructure development in established or new residential subdivisions.

In 2020, there were two awardees of this program: Stepping Stone Development, 55 lots (32 single family, 10 twin homes, 13 row homes), and Stenehjem Development, 79 lots (37 single family and 42 townhomes). 

This program successfully stimulated residential construction and kept contractors busy in what may have been an otherwise quiet summer.

For more information about the Housing Development Subsidy Program, you can visit the website:


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