Housing study table

Seward County’s new Housing Study is complete, setting a goal of creating 488 additional housing units by 2024.

The last housing study for Seward County was completed in 2013, with a goal of 534 housing units by 2019. From 2014 to May of this year, Seward County built an estimated 282 housing units.  

The housing study was done by Hanna:Keelan Associates P.C., a Nebraska-based community planning and research consulting firm. The study was funded by a Housing Study Grant from the Nebraska Finance Authority and matching funds from the Seward County Housing Corporation and the City of Seward LB840 Economic Development Fund.

Hanna:Keelan broke down the housing need by every municipality in Seward County. The main three are Seward, Milford and Utica. 

According to the study Seward needs 242 housing units, 80 being rentals and 162 being resident-owned. 

Milford needs 60 housing units, 26 rentals and 34 owned. Utica needs 16 total, six rentals and 10 owned. 

The study points out that not every housing unit needs to be a newly built unit. Hanna:Keelan recommended the units should be 74.5% new construction and 25.5% rehabilitation. 

Of the 488 housing units needed in Seward County, the study breaks them down into price ranges. 

According to the study, 344 units are needed at a price at or above $337,900 for owners or $1,280 a month for renters. For the mid-range housing units, the study suggests 84 units be priced at $225,630 or a monthly rent of $985. The bottom tier needs 60 units priced between $96,600 to $144,970 or a rent of $470 to $730. 

Jonathan Jank with the Seward County Chamber and Development Partnership said Seward County won’t necessarily hit the goal of 488 housing units. 

“If we hit 55% we are performing well,” Jank said. 

Jank said with studies like this, the county has to work with the spirit of the willing. 

The numbers, however, do not take into account the multiple housing units being built in Seward alone, such as the new apartment complexes and housing developments that were started after the study began. 

SCCDP held a Housing Study Lunch with representatives from Hanna:Keelan on Nov. 12 at the Civic Center. 

Representatives from many companies spoke about programs they had to help Seward County meet its housing goal. 

Representatives were from the Nebraska Investment Finance Authority, Seward County Housing Corporation, United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development, Midwest Housing Development Fund, Housing and Urban Development, and 

Southeast Nebraska Development District. 

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