Gage County Housing
17 Mar 2020
Housing in Gage County
Gage County is an incredible place to live in. It’s conveniently located, has an abundance of good jobs, schools and the type of amenities that make a community an enjoyable place to live. This has led to a demand for a wide variety of housing options, ranging from small rentals to executive homes. The communities within Gage County are diverse enough to offer a variety of lifestyle options, making it possible to select the type of community and neighborhood that is right for each individual family.
The county needs ongoing housing development to support continued growth and increased demand. NGage has been actively working to address this need by regularly conducting housing studies, working with developers and supporting policies and initiatives designed to make it attractive for developers to invest in the county.
Housing Development in Gage County
Since the 2016 Gage County Housing Study, there has been new single- and multi-family homes constructed in or near Adams, Beatrice, Blue Springs, Cortland, Holmesville, and Pickrell.
In Beatrice, housing developers completed construction of 77 homes between October 2016 and December 2018, with an estimated total of over 30 additional homes under construction but not yet completed during that time. There have been entire neighborhoods develop, a street lined with tiny homes, and other streets, with lots previously vacant, have begun to transform.
The communities of Wymore, Blue Springs, and Odell are taking a unique approach to housing. In Wymore and Blue Springs, a group of involved citizens has worked tirelessly to address housing dilapidation by demolishing homes one at a time, both sprucing up neighborhoods and allowing for future development opportunities. Over the 2018 year and the summer of 2019, a total of 24 homes throughout the two communities will have been demolished, with an additional 10 expected to be taken down in 2020. Conversely, Odell residents are focusing efforts on acquiring dilapidated homes, repairing them, and selling the updated and affordable units in order to attract young families to town.
For a community of fewer than 500, Cortland has seen an uptick in Lincoln residents looking to move to a smaller community. Since 2016, there have been nearly a dozen homes constructed near Cortland. In the last year alone, the community has seen numerous projects.
Addressing Future Housing Needs
Much progress has been made in developing additional housing units within Gage County. Still, there is a high demand for housing, especially as more people move to the area. To gain data on the extent of housing needs within the community, a 2019 housing study was commissioned. As part of the study, a survey was conducted to identify the need for more affordable rental units and homes for sale that are aligned with what middle-income and single-parent families can afford.
Results of the 2019 Gage County Housing Survey
Over 2019, Gage County had significantly more people participate than in years past. In total, nearly 750 people completed the survey, providing "NGage" a diverse sample from which to gather information. As a result, the organization learned about the housing needs of first-time homebuyers, single parents, families making under $50,000/yeark professionals, upper executives, and retirees of varying income levels. These responses are critical in understanding the full extent of the housing needs in Gage County.
Overview of Results
The survey found that an estimated 204 new owner-occupied and 118 rental units could be built within the county. The housing types identified as being "greatly needed" are:
- housing for middle-income families, single-parent families, and existing/new employees
- single-family housing
- general rental housing
- rehabilitation of owner and renter-occupied housing
- housing for first-time homebuyers
- two & three bedroom apartments or homes for rent
- retirement housing for lower-income elderly persons
Of note, the survey identified the need for more affordable rental units and homes for sale that are aligned with what middle-income and single-parent families can afford. In addition, the community would like to see more options for first-time homebuyers and retirees. This includes homes priced less than $175,000 and rentals under $800 per month. Some of the residents surveyed would like to see these numbers below $100,000 and $600.
The survey also broke down the types of housing required by certain groups. Those over the age of 55, for example, identified that single-family homes, assisted living housing, and rental duplexes as the most "in-demand."
Workforce housing survey respondents pointed out some of the challenges they saw with the current housing market. The cost of real estate taxes and housing prices topped the list for homeowners, while the cost of rent and the number of available rental units top the list for renters.
What To Do With the Information
NGage conducted the housing study, created workforce and citizen surveys, and facilitated community listening sessions to develop a final report that will be completed in the first quarter of 2020. The full study will serve as a guide for each community in determining how to tackle their housing needs. The goal of NGage is to continue moving forward - a focus on housing is one of the arrows in the quiver. In working to attract investment to the county, they will continue to work with developers who are interested in building housing units based on the survey results.