Overall building permit values down in 2019; West Fargo bucks the trend in the metro area

FARGO — Considering all sectors of construction, building permit numbers were down about 8% in 2019 compared to 2018, according to the Home Builders Association of Fargo Moorhead's year-end building permit. Total permit value was down about 14% as well.

Numbers include single-family and attached housing, multi-family housing, residential remodeling, new commercial, commercial remodeling, public and miscellaneous permits. The F-M metro includes Dilworth, Fargo, Moorhead and West Fargo. Outlying communities include Barnesville and Hawley in Minnesota, and Casselton, Harwood, Horace, Kindred, Mapleton and Oxbow in North Dakota.

HBA of F-M President Darrick Guthmiller of Kochmann Brothers Homes said while overall numbers were slightly down, row house, town house and twin home construction numbers were up.

"Fluctuations in construction activity are common as markets adjust. There are a lot of factors including weather, demand and cost to build," he said. "Speaking specifically about housing, a bright spot was in row house and town house construction, which is more than quadrupled over last year. Twin home construction also saw a surge, increasing 10% over 2018."


West Fargo was the only metro city to report increased permit values in 2019. While permit numbers decreased from 894 to 811 in 2019, overall value rose over $16 million from $172,964,953 to $189,106,154. This is thanks, in part, to projects like the Lights at Sheyenne 32, a mixed-use plaza under construction just east of the West Fargo Sports Arena near the corner of Sheyenne Street and 32nd Avenue South.

Individual numbers for 2019 are as follows:

  • Dilworth: Permit numbers increased from 70 to 77, but value decreased from $8,479,674 to $5,979,615 in 2019.
  • Moorhead: Permit numbers increased from 748 to 757, but value decreased from $92,531,721 to $77,939,568.
  • Fargo: Permit numbers decreased from 2,135 to 1,830, and values decreased from $515,144,884 to $361,992,489.
  • Barnesville: Permit numbers increased from 122 to 131, but values decreased from $5,673,577 to $4,310,847.
  • Casselton: Permit numbers increased from 30 to 31, and values increased from $5,155,825 to $6,822,435.
  • Harwood: Permit numbers decreased from 18 to 13, but values increased from $1,742,500 to $3,449,610.
  • Hawley: Permit numbers decreased from 28 to 20, but values increased from $1,928,175 to $2,951,700.
  • Horace: Permit numbers increased from 94 to 125, and values increased from $15,925,382 to $51,933,872.
  • Kindred: Permit numbers increased from 23 to 31, but values decreased from $3,391,755 to $3,436,647.
  • Mapleton: Permit numbers decreased from 58 to 39, and values decreased from $8,819,954 to $6,120,195.
  • Oxbow: Permit numbers decreased from 16 to 14, and values decreased from $7,633,358 to $5,977,417.
Angie Wieck is the business editor for The Forum. Email her at
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