While the economy in Nebraska isn’t precisely among the top state economies in the country, it is stable enough to make the housing market predictions for the state appear quite favorable. Ranking as the 25th in the nation, the economy here relies heavily on agriculture (both historically and currently), which doesn’t lead to a spectacularly large gross product and earnings. However, this economy manages to bring about a certain level of sustainable stability. A good example of this is the fact that unemployment has remained quite low at only 2.5% (as of April 2015). That is currently the lowest nation-wide. This, alongside other factors which we will present at large below, makes the Nebraska real estate a good place to become a homeowner (and also a safe bet for investors interested in the local 2015 housing market).
Following the slow recovery of the 2014 Nebraska real estate market, let’s examine what the current market trends have in store for this area. Even if the market isn’t as competitive as the rest of the nation, the upwards trend for this year is quite palpable and caused some enthusiasm for several experts in the field. For example, Greg Mitchell (of Mitchell and Associates) presented an overview of the Omaha area as of March this year on behalf of the Omaha Area Board of Realtors. He said that after 42 years of experience in housing market predictions, he felt that ‘the momentum’ all investors were waiting for is finally here. His opinion was derived from factors such as the healthy and improving economy, the still low interest rates and so on. Still, we would advise a more cautious brand of optimism. Let’s take a look at the influencing factors for Nebraska’s 2015 housing market below.
Influencing Factors for the 2015 Nebraska Real Estate Market
- According to Zillow, the median home value in Nebraska is currently at $136,700 this year, following a 5.4% rise since the same time last year, and with the hub’s real estate experts predicting a continued rise of 3.1% during the next year. This median home value means that half of all listed homes are evaluated to be worth less this figure, while the other half is evaluated to be worth more. The median sale price in Nebraska is a bit higher, currently at $156,400, and $112 per square foot.
- As for rents, the median rent list price (again according to Zillow) is $1,150 per home, as where the median actual rent price is $1238 (listings may sometimes comprise a less expensive flow then the money transactions from the homes that actually do get rented). This median rent price (of $1238) in Nebraska is still a little under the national average, which is $1381. The median rent list price per square foot is $0.88.
- The Nebraska real estate market seems to be a pretty active one, with plenty of house listings on all the major search engines, amounting to a wealth of options to choose from (for both sales and rentals). The Craigslist Nebraska listings for both Lincoln and Omaha are particularly abundant, for example, and other hubs like Trulia and Zillow aren’t far behind either.
- A strong influencing factor for the 2015 housing market in Nebraska seems to be the rate of foreclosures. Some local experts, such as Mr. Greg Mitchell quoted above, believe that the rather large number of foreclosures from the accumulated debt of some home owners the previous year is good for the local Nebraska real estate market, even if it may be bad for the home owners in question. He argued that this number of foreclosures means an improved mobility of the market, as well as opportunities of acquiring homes for somewhat lower values while the median value of such homes continues its upward surge. However, the foreclosure situation isn’t bad enough to be any cause for concern. Zillow experts rated the Nebraska market health at 9.6 out of 10, which indicates a very healthy real estate environment. In fact, there are only 10.8% homes with negative equity (whereas the national average is 15.4%), only 2.2% of mortgages are delinquent (compared to a national average of 6.0%), and only 1 in 10,000 homes are going to be foreclosed this year (whereas the national average is of 3 homes out of 10,000).
- As mentioned above, the unemployment rate in Nebraska in only 2.5% (the lowest in the country). The national average is of 6.3%.
- The cost of living in Nebraska, according to Forbes, is much lower than the national average. In Omaha, for example, as the largest city in the state, the cost of living is 5.5% lower than the national average.
Best Places to Live in Nebraska
The housing market in the state’s capital is looking pretty good this year. The Lincoln NE real estate market is one of the most active in the area, right below Omaha (the state’s largest city), as far as the numbers of listings and transactions go. The median home value here (according to the Zillow experts) is $143,800, after a 3.2% rise during the past year and a continued 3.1% rise forecasted for the next year. The median rent price for both Lincoln and the Lincoln Metro area is $1200, a bit lower than the national average of $1381 but not by much.
The Omaha NE real estate field may look less valuable at a first glance, since the median home value here is only $135,700 (after a 5.5% rise during the past year and a predicted further rise of 3.0% in the next year as well), but it’s actually the market that all investors are looking to the most. This isn’t just because the sheer population size here is a bit larger, but also because simply put, the market’s temperature is way up. This means that there are a lot of listings (for both sales and rentals), as well as transactions, and that more real estate business gets done in Omaha, which makes it the most interesting market to look to for both prospective home owners and investors. The Zillow Omaha NE report rates the market as very healthy (an 8.2 out of 10 rating), and there are over 700 Trulia Omaha listings at this point.
The Bellevue NE real estate market is becoming quite attractive. The city looks great for those who are looking for a place more settled and quiet than Lincoln or Omaha, but also with plenty of opportunities for fun and being active. The median home value in Bellevue according to Zillow is $149,200, up by 2.3% since the same time last year and with a further 3.0% rise projected for the next year as well. Also, the rent price is $1,295 (in its median value), a little higher than what it is in the Omaha Metro (a median of $1,150).
The Grand Island NE real estate field is also looking pretty attractive to investors and prospective home owners alike. The median home value here (according to Zillow data) is $136,400, and the values have gone up by 2.1% during the past year. No further change in the median home value is predicted in the next year, but the market is evaluated as being very healthy (8.9 out of 10 rating) and stable.
The Kearney NE real estate field is pretty valuable. If you’re looking for life in a quiet town who is family friendly but not too family-centric either (only about 40% of households here are inhabited by married families), then Kearney is the ideal place. The average listing price for homes in Kearney, according to Trulia, is $264,432 (at the end of September 2015), while the median home value is $141,700 according to bestplaces.net. Reports indicate that the area of Kearney is also rich in infrastructure such as schools, high schools, hospitals, as well as entertainment ventures. The unemployment rate is 2.3% percent (much below the 6.0% national average), while the cost of living is reportedly 9.2% lower than the national average.
As for the Fremont NE real estate field, the bestplaces.net reports indicate that the median home price here is $242,800, while the average commute time is 16.49 minutes and the unemployment rate only 3.4%. The housing market here is quite valuable, with the median prices being higher than both the county’s median (of $109,600) and the national median (of $170,100).