WILLISTON, N.D. — A North Dakota housing assessment has predicted Watford City will grow at a higher rate than Williston in the next 20 years.

A group of panelists at the Williston Area Real Estate Summit last month discussed the assessment conducted by the Center for Social Research and the department of Agribusiness and Applied Economics at North Dakota State University, the Williston Herald (http://bit.ly/2djGhZd ) reported.

Williston Realtors Association president Jill Kjorstad said the assessment predicts Williston will grow by more than 60 percent in population and Watford City by 80 percent.

“If you look at the housing study, Watford (City) is going to take a really good increase,” Kjorstad said. “Watford City isn’t going to surpass us in population, but in growth.”

Paul Ficara of RE/MAX Bakken Realty has experience working in Watford City.

“The city currently serves 7,500 to 10,000, but has the infrastructure for 15,000,” Ficara said. “That’s really positive for the long term. In Watford City, in the past 18 months, the city has invested $70 million in infrastructure and plans on $30 to 35 million in 2017.”

The report said the number of households in the extremely low income range, falling under $20,000 annually, is expected to grow by nearly 107 percent in McKenzie County and 65 percent in Williams County by 2029.

“Based off of the forecast there’s a need for additional housing for a growing community,” Ficara said. “What we’re seeing is a shift. The builders and developers were just providing a shelter but now we’re seeing people try to make communities out there.”

Information from: Williston Herald, http://www.willistonherald.com