The majority of the commercial real estate in North Dakota is dedicated to agriculture. Eight-nine percent of the land in North Dakota is farmland, making it one of the largest farm states in the nation.

The population of the North Dakota has steadily decreased since the 1980's. Young, educated professionals looking for jobs away from the farms of this northwest state have emigrated to other areas of the country. How to keep these young, educated professionals has become a hot political topic in the state. The majority of the population that has chose to stay has shifted from the rural areas of the state to the larger cities. Cities like the Fargo, Grand Forks, Minot and the capital of Bismarck are attracting the professionals who are not leaving the state. Besides native North Dakotans, a small number of people are looking to North Dakotas cities as a way to have an affordable, small town lifestyle. There may be small-scale residential and retail opportunities here as the urbanized populations slowly creep up in number, and this market is probably best for investors who also intend on living in North Dakota.


Another use for agricultural land, particularly in south central North Dakota is recreational. Game hunters and preservationists are snatching up the land, hoping to return to its wild nature. Indeed, these buyers have driven up the price of agricultural land from about $400 per acre a few back to about $700 per acre today.

Aside from agriculture, North Dakota's economy depends heavily on small-scale retail. Smaller national restaurant chains are slowly moving into North Dakota's major cities such as Bismarck and Minot. Accordingly, the retail market is growing, though it remains miniscule compared to investment opportunities in other states. Particularly, the concern over the size and reliability of the labor pool hinders retail growth, and this is likely a drain on the retail property market as well.

Another issue for developers of raw land in North Dakota is that they may be competing with municipalities. Hurting for tax revenue, some local governments are turning to land developing as a way to raise to funds. Counties developing their own land are doing everything from developing retail pads, to simply dividing property and selling off lots.

The residential market in Bismarck and Fargo remains strong, but it's not suited for investment. There is no significant new construction, nor is there any demand for it. Rental vacancies and rents have remained steady. Fluctuation is what creates opportunities in a market, and, unfortunately, the only fluctuation in North Dakota's real estate market comes from declining population.

What does this mean for those who are interested in commercial real estate in North Dakota?

Those who are interested in investing in farmland certainly have plenty to choose from. As farmers retire and their children choose not to continue in their parent's business, the land is being sold off. Since the areas outside of the cities are not experiencing any kind of population or financial growth, the land is best used as farmland.

The soil in North Dakota is ideal for several crops such as wheat, barley, sunflower, soybeans and flax as well as vegetables such as beats and corn. The state is the leading producer in the country of many of these crops. The land in the southwest corner of the state is ideal for cattle and dairy farming.

Around the larger cities there are some industrial commercial businesses such as food processing and electric power industries. Commercial real estate for these businesses is available for those looking to expand those industries.

Many of the residents who live and work in and around the larger cities own or rent second homes around many of North Dakota's beautiful lakes. These areas also bring in tourists form other parts of the country. Commercial real estate is available to develop for tourism in these areas. The state is actively working to attract tourists and is promoting their tourist industry.

North Dakota is a state that is looking to find ways to keep its population from dwindling and bring in commercial business. Because of this, the government is consistently devising new programs to attract businesses and employers to the state. This means that they are willing to work with businesses who want to buy and develop commercial real estate in the form of tax breaks and other major incentives to bring in and keep commercial business. The commercial real estate is there waiting for innovative and creative businesses to purchase it for a very reasonable rate.