Results from Burt County’s recent housing study probably didn’t come as much of a surprise.
Burt County Economic Development Corp. had the study done by Hanna:Keelan, a planning and research consulting firm based in Lincoln. Hanna:Keelan also did the last housing study for the county five yeas ago. Preliminary results were revealed at a series of meetings Jan. 17 in Tekamah, Craig and Oakland.
BCED Executive Director Patty Plugge said the sessions were a chance for residents to see how their responses matched up with the total and to give residents a chance to offer additional input.
The results, she said, were very much the same as five years ago. “Still, you need to update the study every five years in order to remain eligible to receive certain grants for housing projects.”
Plugge said the number-one unmet need in the county is single family homes for middle-income families.
As an example of how grants help in the housing process, she said Three Rivers Housing Development Corp. recently received a grant to construct three homes in Tekamah for a first-time homebuyer program that helps qualified buyers overcome the hurdles of coming up with a down payment and the higher construction costs seen in rural areas. “They received a workforce housing grant. They used the study to receive that grant.”
The survey also showed respondents seeking larger, four-bedroom homes in a $50-100,000 price range.
“That’s a mismatch,” Plugge said. “That’s why we seek grants to put up those kinds of homes.”
One of the suppressing factors in new home construction is the relative lack of building lots, especially outside of Tekamah’s Northridge development. Plugge said despite the success the City of Tekamah has had in tearing down dilapidated houses, the lots that become available may not be suitable for today’s modern homes. But even when the old eyesores are torn down, those houses have to be replaced in order to maintain a thriving housing market.
Plugge stressed that it’s important to have different types of available housing because different families have different needs.
The study also shows there is plenty of opportunity.
Figures released as part of the study show an estimated 20 owner-occupied homes and 15 rental units being needed to meet the projected target demand in Tekamah over the next five years. The total investment was estimated at $8.2 million.
The study further showed an estimated 121 homes in Tekamah in need of rehabilitation, at an estimated cost of $4.71 million, and another 30 to be demolished.
Figures were made available for every town in the county as well as the rural areas.
The survey’s results also showed a desire for an assisted living facility. Among respondents 55 years of age and older, assisted living housing matched single family homes as the biggest need for people their age over the next five years.
Hanna:Keelan’s final report is expected in about a month.