BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — According to Bismarck-Mandan Chamber EDC, the Bismarck Mandan population is projected to grow 10% over the next decade.

While this is good news, city officials say there is an extreme shortage of housing available for less than $400,000.

This population growth will put on even more stress on the housing shortage.

This is what led the Chamber to team up with Next Move Group, a national economic development consulting firm to come up with a five-year economic development strategic plan.

“Our leadership really looked at the way in which economic development is done. And has changed over the last few years,” said Nathan Schneider, vice president of Bismarck-Mandan Chamber EDC.

The three main strategies that the chamber is looking at are economic development marketing, product development, and middle-income housing development.

“If we continue to grow at the 10% clip that they are projecting in the plan that will put even more of a burden on our already really hot housing market,” said Schneider.

To combat that officials will need to find ways to increase affordable housing to help first-time home buyers.

Commissioning a housing study, studying housing incentives being implemented by South Dakota and Iowa, and redeveloping vacant buildings downtown are all things suggested in the plan.

Another strategy the consulting firm wanted to see in the Bismarck-Mandan area is diversity.

“It’s never a good idea to focus on one industry or another,” said Schneider. “So how do we become more diversified in our economy. We do that by attracting different businesses and different industries in our community.”

Vaney Hariri is the co-founder of Think 3D a business based in South Dakota.

He said from the business side if you want to grow and be able to target a broad audience you have to be diversified.

“If you want to have a growing environment community there has to be variety and a lot of times when people think of diversity they only think of it in a very limited way,” said Hariri. “Like racial or gender. But it means a lot of different ways. Such as diversity of thought. Diversity of experience. Diversity of world view.”

The consulting firm also suggested featuring advantages such as low utility rates and tax exemptions to attract more private-sector businesses to the area.