The Yankton County Register of Deeds Office has been no stranger to big numbers in recent years.
According to Register of Deeds Brian Hunhoff and the office’s recently released annual report, last year was no exception as more record numbers and long-time highs continued to be recorded.
Hunhoff told the Press & Dakotan that fees were one of the big records set in 2019.
“We had a busy year in 2019 with over 8,000 transactions,” Hunhoff said. “We set a local Register of Deeds office record with $303,522 in total fees collected.”
He added that copies revenue was also big throughout 2019.
“Real estate recordings and transfer fees were up significantly; sales of vital records such as birth and death certificates were steady; and we set a new record with $43,389 in copies revenue. We have a lot of $1 and $2 copy sales to local people, but the bulk of our copies revenue comes from the two Yankton title companies and from out-of-state companies who order digital copies of our real estate records.”
Hunhoff said steady real estate growth, rather than one or two major projects, helped set another record.
“We established a new record with $116.8 million in Yankton County real estate sales in 2019, breaking the old record by $5.7 million,” he said. “We did not have that big $15 million type of transaction that drove previous records, just a steady flow — mostly single-family home sales — from March to December.”
He added that it took some time for those sales to pick up.
“The year did get off to a slow start, especially February, but real estate began moving briskly after that. We had six straight months over $10 million in real estate sales, and nine of the 12 months topped $9 million.”
However, not all of the high trends that Hunhoff has tracked are on the positive side.
“We had 270 county resident deaths in 2019, which is a 20-year high,” he said. “Our county deaths have been rising for the last five years. From 2000 to 2014, we averaged 201 resident deaths per year. Since 2015, we have averaged 251 resident deaths per year.”
He said that he is waiting on word of what may be contributing to the spike in county deaths.
“The state health department will get me numbers later this year which show the specific cause of death increases that made us jump from 240 in 2018 to 270 last year, but it’s usually not just one thing.”
Another concern of Hunhoff’s was the number of liens recorded last year.
“We had over 1,100 county liens in 2019, which is 300 more than the year before,” he said. “Many of these are for jail inmates and indigent people who qualify for county help with medical bills and court-appointed legal counsel.”
Hunhoff said it’s hard to predict what’s ahead for 2020, but there is one outcome he’s actively rooting to see.
“It would be nice to see all of our housing activity lead to decent population growth in the next census count,” he said.
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