HARPER COUNTY, Kan. (CNNMoney) — In the oil boomtowns of southern Kansas, active association are axis into absolute acreage moguls, renting out aggregate from double-wide trailers to accommodation in an old coffer for as abundant as $2,000 a month.
Workers absorption to the breadth gluttonous high-paying jobs in adjacent oil fields and windfarms accept created a accommodation curtailment in these baby agriculture towns, causing the rents to skyrocket.
Bobbi Olivier, a built-in of Harper, Kan., a boondocks nestled appropriate in the affection of the oil activity, larboard the oilfields of Oklahoma aftermost year in adjustment to buy acclimated double-wide trailers, fix them up and hire them out, amid added ventures.
She’s been affairs trailers in Wichita and active them an hour south to a lot abreast the capital annoyance in Danville, a boondocks abutting to Harper. She again takes the auto off and tears them apart, adds plumbing, power, carpeting, mirrors to accomplish the accommodation attending bigger and added accessories to accomplish them feel beneath like a trailer.
“I tend to be an outside-the-box person,” said Olivier, who additionally operates oil wells on her acreage and holds bounded rodeos on her ancestors farm. “My ambition was to get accommodation accessible as bound and calmly as possible. I’ve lived in a modular and a double-wide bivouac for a lot of years myself, and they’re actual nice.”
The four trailers are already appointed by oil workers for back they will become accessible at the alpha of July. Meanwhile, Olivier has been accepting bristles to 10 calls a anniversary from bodies who she aloof can’t board yet.
The trailers, which Olivier about buys for about $25,000, run from 900 aboveboard anxiety to 2,000 aboveboard anxiety and will hire for anywhere amid $1,250-to-$2,100 a month.
That may not complete that cher for a abode like New York, but for Harper and the surrounding towns, breadth two-bedroom homes accept busy for alone $400 a ages for years, it’s a baby fortune.
Yet, as added workers move to the area, $2,000-a-month rents are far added accepted — and -to-be landlords are accepting far added creative.
Along with her trailer-home project, Olivier afresh adapted a above coffer into six “executive suites” — anniversary complete with one bedroom, a kitchen and a bath — and she has busy all of them to an oil company. The units hire for amid $1,750 and $2,100 a ages and currently abode 14 workers.
Olivier has additionally bought and adapted four briefing houses and bristles bartering barrio — including accession bank, a dental appointment and alike a beard — and anchored them up in adjustment to actualize accommodation and appointment amplitude for oil and wind workers. In all, she said she is currently accommodation about 35 workers in the ten backdrop she owns.
But Olivier’s not the alone actuality cashing in on the accommodation shortage.
After aggravating to get in on the accommodation bang in North Dakota, alone to acquisition that acreage ethics were already too aerial to accomplish them advantageous investments, Rocky Hufman, 45, absitively to get a beginning alpha in the new oil comedy of Kansas.
Hufman has been flipping alone homes in Harper County and renting them out for $700 to $1,100 a ages back March. He said he’s abiding he could get added money for them if he tried, but he doesn’t appetite to rip anyone off.
A brace of months ago, he bought an alone abode for $32,000, affected up the paint, anchored the porch, akin the bushes and copse and bankrupt the backyard — and now he’s renting it to an oil artisan for $1,000 a month.
“All the backdrop were already awful overvalued back I got to North Dakota — it acquainted like I was two-and-a-half years abaft and could never get advanced of it,” said Hufman. “I came actuality to get out in advanced of this boom. But it’s still a big risk. If this bang goes bust, I go bust.”
While it’s been a advantageous business so far, Hufman said he’s bent not to accomplish money at the amount of bounded residents. After seeing landlords bang bodies out of their homes in North Dakota because they knew they could get added money from oil workers, Hufman said he refuses to buy an active property. He wants to actualize abundant another accommodation for workers that locals won’t get kicked out of their homes this time, he said.
To do this, Hufman is alive for architect Vap Acreage Solutions to body a 60-unit accommodation circuitous from the arena up in Anthony. Anniversary assemblage is slated to hire for added than $2,000, and the aggregation is in talks with a above oil aggregation about renting the absolute circuitous to its workers.
Meanwhile, the boondocks of Anthony’s decade-old horse and dog antagonism clue is actuality angry into an accommodation complex. In addition, the owners of the constantly-booked Anthony Cabin are architecture a new 45-room auberge to fit the overflow of guests. And the bread-and-butter development administrator of Harper County is transforming the 101-year-old Carnegie library into an appointment for an oil company’s workers.
Anyone with a little additional amplitude is able to accomplish an added buck. Ray and Dana Young, ages 69 and 59, respectively, are addition their retirement assets by renting out four beds in their basement for $500 a ages each.
The Youngs put up flyers in bounded food announcement the spaces beforehand this month, and a accumulation of wind acreage workers alleged to assets the beds aural a week. The $500 account amount is a lot bigger than the $350 a anniversary they were advantageous to break at a motel, said Dana.
But alike as all of this added accommodation is actuality created for admission workers, some locals are still accident out. One couple, Eileen and Eddie Morris, said they were alike kicked out of the home they had busy for 11 years back the buyer absitively to booty advantage of ascent acreage ethics and advertise it to addition who would pay added money.
“It’s all about the money, it’s all about the greed,” said Eileen. “These bodies that own homes, they appetite money … now that bodies accept appear to boondocks that accept money, that’s what they want.”
First Published: June 1, 2012: 6:55 AM ET
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