WAHOO – Saunders County Assessor Rhonda Andresen has always said the county nestled between Omaha and Lincoln is never going to have a year where it doesn’t grow.
In 2020, the assessor’s office and Register of Deeds has been busy as ever, which Andresen said is a direct sign that the housing market in the county is booming, despite the pandemic.
Saunders County had 72 building permits submitted in 2020, per data provided by Zoning Administrator Mitch Polacek. While 2019 wasn’t too far behind with 69 permits, Polacek said he had expected the permit number in 2020 to be lower because of the pandemic.
“That didn’t take,” Polacek said.
Forty-five of those 2020 building permits belonged to land in the Ashland area, which is more than half the total of permits from the year. In 2019, the Ashland area retained the most permits again with 44 permits for residential buildings.
“Ashland is booming,” Andresen said.
Andresen said this is due to the new subdivisions in the area and the forecast is that the city will continue to grow and get much larger. Between the steady housing market and lowered interest rates, Saunders County is seeing homes go on the market and sell within hours, she said.
“It opens up the door for new homeowners,” Andresen said.
At the Register of Deeds office, Andresen describes the numbers as “astronomical” for the documents filed this year compared to previous years, which also reflects on the Saunders County housing market. In 2020, they had 1,233 deeds which includes farm land, homes and any transfer of real estate.
“COVID has definitely not put a damper on the housing industry in Saunders County as a whole,” Andresen said.
While the housing market and interest rates are beneficial to potential homeowners, Polacek did say that the costs for materials like lumber are rising which makes it difficult for builders.
Because the county is 90% agriculture, Polacek said there aren’t many commercial buildings being built this year. Off the top of his head, he said he remembered two commercial building permits for an addition to an existing storage building in Woodcliff and a new storage building at Sandy Pointe Lake in Ashland.
Andresen works with title companies on a daily basis and from what they have been saying, this housing boom should continue into 2021 with no end in sight, she explained. Andresen attributes this constant growth to the things the county can offer and its people.
“We are going to continue to expand in the future,” Andresen said. “I don’t see any changes. And that aspect is because it’s a wonderful place to live, we have a lot to offer and people are moving this way.”