Black Hills Knowledge Netowork

Total New Housing Unit Permits in the Black Hills, 2004-2013
Total New Housing Unit Permits in the Black Hills, 2004-2013
Black Hills Knowledge Network
July 30, 2014

New Housing Doubles in Black Hills in Past 3 Years

New housing unit permits in the Black Hills have more than doubled in the past three years, climbing from 383 units in 2011 to 988 units in 2013, signaling a strong recovery from the 2008-2009 recession. These numbers include single family homes as well as multi-family buildings such as duplexes and apartments. Although new permits have not returned to 2004 levels at the height of the housing boom in the United States, they correlate with positive economic and demographic growth in the Black Hills.

Rapid City housing permits nearly quadrupled, going from 181 units in 2011 to 661 units in 2013. Spearfish likewise showed a major increase – doubling from 71 units in 2011 to 136 units in 2013.

Sturgis and Summerset also showed high rates of growth. Sturgis increased by a factor of 7, from 6 housing unit permits in 2011 to 44 units in 2013. Summerset more than doubled, increasing from 19 units in 2011 to 54 in 2013.

Surprisingly, Belle Fourche, the closest major town in the Black Hills to the North Dakota border and the oil boom, declined in terms of housing unit permits issued. From a high of 42 new units in 2006, to a low of 14 in 2009, Belle Fourche was still only at 17 new units for 2013. 

percentage change

Housing prices have also steadily increased in the Black Hills, although for some towns more than others. New single family houses in Rapid City increased in average cost from $146,066 in 2004 to $207,251 in 2009. Prices then dropped in 2010 to $186,165, and so far for 2014, prices are averaging at $190,727—a 2.5 percent increase in housing costs over the past 5 years for single-family dwellings.

Spearfish tells a more dramatic story. Average new housing prices for single-family dwellings dropped to $163,732 in 2010, and increased to $202,363 in 2013—a 24 percent increase over four years.

Looking at housing cost burden data on the Black Hills Knowledge Network, for the 2008-2012 time period, households living in the Black Hills were more burdened by housing costs than South Dakota as a whole. Sturgis is the most cost-burdened community, with 37.9 percent of households paying 30 percent or more of their income on housing. Hot Springs came in next (36.3%), then Box Elder (35.9%), Spearfish (34.5%), and then Rapid City (33.1%).


Looking at demographics, the overall population of the Black Hills has increased 4.3 percent from 189,405 in 2010 to 197,628 in 2013 – a higher rate of growth than in South Dakota and the US, but not high enough to explain the doubling in new housing units from 2011-2013.

Breaking the population growth down by age group, it is clear the Black Hills population is growing older. The 65+ age group in the Black Hills grew by 14.3 percent from 2010-2013, while the under 18 age group increased by just .9 percent, and the 18-65 age group increased by 3.5 percent. These trends may indicate that the increase in new housing units partly reflect an increase in retirement homes in the Black Hills. 


The Black Hills Knowledge Network will continue to monitor housing and population trends in the Black Hills, so check back often, as our data is consistently updated with the most recent statistics.

To view all of our data on demographics, economics, and health in the Black Hills go to our Community Data index page and do your own research on housing and population by accessing our easy-to-use graphs. Just hover over the upper right and left corners of the charts to view the numerous options available. 


The sources for all housing permit data in this article are from the respective city governments of the towns listed. For specific questions, please contact the Black Hills Knowledge Network at [email protected]

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