Nebraska Real Estate Market Trends & Analysis

The Nebraska real estate market boasts incredible affordability. With a price-to-rent ratio leaning heavily in favor of homeownership, it is actually cheaper to buy a home in most of Nebraska than to rent one. As a result, the “Cornhusker State” has seen housing demand increase in conjunction with prices. Despite eight consecutive years of appreciation, however, homes are still affordable enough in Nebraska for most people to at least consider buying.

One thing is for certain: there appears to be plenty of affordable inventory across the state. Savvy buyers, not the least of whom may be investors, should be able to benefit more than just about everyone else.

The Top Nebraska Real Estate Markets

While the best real estate market in Nebraska is up for debate, here’s a list of the cities investors may want to pay special considerations to:

Nebraska Real Estate Fees & Regulations

Real Estate

Closing Conducted by: Title Companies, Lenders, Real Estate Agents, Attorneys
Conveyance: Warranty Deed

Foreclosure Procedure

Primary Foreclosure Method: Judicial
Process Period: 5 - 6 months
Notice of Sale: Sheriff
Redemption Period: None


Income Tax: 2.46% - 6.84%
Corporate Tax: 5.58 - 7.81%
Sales Tax: 5.50%
Estate Tax: No
Inheritance Tax: 1% - 18%
Median Property Tax: 1.76%
Property Taxes by County:

Average Transactional Costs

Closing Cost: $2,654.00
Transfer Fee: 0.23%
Origination Fee: $1,975.00


  • Median Home Value: $176,239

  • 1-Year Appreciation Rate: +5.0%

  • Median Home Value (1-Year Forecast): +2.6%

  • Median Rent Price: $1,195

  • Price-To-Rent Ratio: 12.29

  • Average Days On Market: 58

  • Unemployment Rate: 3.1% (latest estimate by the Bureau Of Labor Statistics)

  • Population: 1,929,268 (latest estimate by the U.S. Census Bureau)

  • Median Household Income: $59,116 (latest estimate by the U.S. Census Bureau)

  • Percentage Of Vacant Homes: 9.70%

  • Foreclosure Rate: 1 in every 4,431 (2.2%)

Median Home Prices In Nebraska

The median home value in Nebraska is $176,239, according to Zillow’s Home Value Index. The state’s median home value, as of the first quarter of 2020, is higher than it has been in more than a decade. As recently as the first quarter of 2012, in fact, the median home value in Nebraska bottomed out around $120,000 during the Great Recession. Since then, however, real estate in Nebraska has ridden a strong recovery. On the heels of a strengthening economy and growing optimism, the median home value in Nebraska appreciated for eight consecutive years, to the tune of 46.8%.

To put things into perspective, the median home value in the United States is $244,054—or $67,815 more than that of Nebraska’s median home value. The difference may be attributed, partially, to a slightly more aggressive appreciation rate. Since February 2012, when the national real estate market appears to have bottomed out, median home values across the whole country have jumped 52.5%.

Real estate in Nebraska has trailed its national counterpart for the better part of a decade. However, Nebraskas has made up some ground in the last year. Whereas the median home value in the United States increased 3.7% over the last year (November 2018 to December 2019), the median home value in Nebraska as the beneficiary of a 5.0% jump. The difference isn’t necessarily an indictment on national trends, but rather a sign that real estate in Nebraska had more room for growth. With home prices well below the national average, there’s simply more room for increases before buyers are priced out of the market.

It is worth noting, however, that real estate in Nebraska isn’t expected to appreciate faster than the national average over the next 12 months. While the state’s median home value isn’t anywhere near the national average, prices are still higher than they have been in quite some time. Nebraska residents are starting to feel the added costs, which should lead to a slightly tempered rate of appreciation moving forward. Over the course of 2020, appreciation rates will hover more closely around 2.6%.

Nebraska Foreclosure Trends & Statistics

The Nebraska real estate market has developed a reputation for having a relatively low foreclosure rate. More specifically, however, only one in every 4,431 homes in Nebraska is considered to be in a state of foreclosure (default, auction or bank owned); that brings the state’s foreclosure rate to an encouraging 2.2%. Thanks—in large part—to the same factors that have facilitated the most recent bout of appreciation across the state, the foreclosure rate in Nebraska is at a level most other states aspire to be at. Consequently, the foreclosure rate across the United States is approximately 3.6%.

The Nebraska housing market has done a great job in reducing foreclosures across the state. As recently as December, in fact, “the number of properties that received a foreclosure filing in NE was 42% lower than the previous month and 7% lower than the same time last year,” according to RealtyTrac.

Despite steady decreases in the last year, there are still several counties with higher distributions of foreclosures than others. The following counties, in fact, represent the areas with the highest distributions of distressed homes across the entire state:

  • Clay (1 in every 756)

  • Webster (1 in every 955)

  • Thayer (1 in every 1,358)

  • York (1 in every 1,576)

  • Washington (1 in every 1,702)

While the foreclosure rate across Nebraska is relatively low, it’s important to note that the pockets of distressed homes are highly concentrated. While there may not be a lot of cities with significant numbers of distressed homes, those that are more susceptible to foreclosures have a relatively high distribution of distressed homes.

Tax Lien Investing

  • Tax Lien or Deed: Tax Lien State

  • Interest Rate: 14%

  • Redemption Period: 3 Years

Real Estate Investing In Nebraska

Real estate investors and homeowners across the country have enjoyed several years of seller gains and attractive ROI (return on investment). According to Attom Data Solutions’ most recent Home Sales Report, in fact, the average home seller in 2019 “realized a home price gain of $65,500 on the typical sale, up from $58,100 last year and up from $50,027 two years ago.” Profits were calculated using median purchase and resale prices, and currently represent a 13-year high.

The report went on to say that profits “represented a 34 percent return on investment compared to the original purchase price, up from 31.4 percent last year and up from 27.4 percent in 2017, to the highest average home-seller ROI since 2006.” Simply put, average U.S. home seller profits are higher than they have been in a really long time.

It is worth noting, however, that profits aren’t only realized at the time of a sale. The cost of acquiring a home plays a huge role in calculating one’s ROI, too. Lower purchase prices have become synonymous with more attractive profit margins, which is why most investors choose to invest in distressed homes. More often than not, distressed properties award savvy investors the opportunity to capitalize on attractive profit margins across the country, and Nebraska is no exception.

Real estate investors in Nebraska should pay special considerations to pre-foreclosures. Representing 48.4% of the state’s distressed inventory, pre-foreclosures are the most abundant source of foreclosures in Nebraska. As their names suggest, however, pre-foreclosures aren’t officially in a state of foreclosure, but are instead at risk of falling into foreclosure. Nonetheless, pre-foreclosures are more likely to be owned by motivated sellers, and are—therefore—more likely to be purchased below market value.

Outside of pre-foreclosures, Nebraska real estate investors should turn their attention towards auction inventory and bank-owned homes. Rounding out the rest of the state’s distressed inventory, auction homes represent 29.0% of the states foreclosed inventory and bank-owned homes make up the remaining 22.6%. Therefore, if local investors in Nebraska want to increase their odds of landing a deal below market value, the first place they should look is at pre-foreclosures, followed by local auctions and financial institutions.

Of course, knowing where to find deals with attractive profit margins is one thing; knowing what to do with them once they are acquired is an entirely different thing. Nebraska real estate investors need to not only know where to find good deals, but they also need to know which exit strategies to execute once they have them, which begs the question: What should real estate investors in Nebraska do with the homes they buy? Should they rehab and flip them? Should they look into wholesaling? Should they build a long-term, passive income portfolio?

At the moment, investing in Nebraska real estate appears to lean in favor of building long-term, passive income portfolios. If for nothing else, years of cash flow are entirely capable of offsetting today’s relatively high acquisition costs. Let’s say, for example, buyers were to us a 30-year fixed-rate conventional mortgage with a 3.913% interest rate (the average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate loan in Nebraska) to buy a home for $176,239 (the median home value in Nebraska). In the event they are able to put down $35,000 (about 20%), monthly mortgage payments would come out to roughly $1,074 (give or take property taxes, insurance and several other unique factors). Subsequently, the median rent price in Nebraska is $1,195. While the difference is modest, a great deal of properties in Nebraska are presumed to be cash flowing, which means investors have the potential to pay down their mortgages with other people’s money. The best rental markets in Nebraska, on the other hand, have the potential to return even more.

Nebraska Housing Market Predictions

The Nebraska real estate market has followed the same trajectory as the rest of the country. For the better part of a decade, in fact, real estate in Nebraska has exhibited many of the same characteristics as its national counterpart. Price increases, confidence in the market and several other indicators are in line with national trends, but what does that mean moving forward? What can Nebraska real estate investors, homeowners and prospective buyers expect for the foreseeable future?

  • Appreciation will continue for the foreseeable future: Inventory shortages and a strengthening economy have helped homes in Nebraska appreciate 5.0% in as little as one year. That said, homes should continue to appreciate for at least the next year, to the tune of about 2.6%. Thanks, in large part, to expected easements in inventory levels, prices should continue to increase, albeit at a slower pace.

  • Grand Island will see an influx of buyers: Already one of the largest cities in Nebraska, Grand Island is also one of the most affordable. As a result, it’s safe to assume more people will look to Grand Island in an attempt to alleviate nearly a decade’s worth of appreciation. You’ll have to remember, while home prices across the state are low compared to the national average, they are still higher than they have been in more than 10 years. It’s likely that people will look to move to Grand Island instead of staying in higher-priced cities like Omaha and Lincoln.

  • Optimism will grow in conjunction with the economy: Nearly every state in the country has seen improvements in their local economies, and Nebraska is no exception. While unemployment has remained steady at 3.1%, the economy has improved year-over-year, which bodes incredibly well for the real estate sector. Simply put, more people are ready and willing to participate in the housing sector, which will serve as a catalyst for activity.

Nebraska Real Estate Market Summary

The Nebraska real estate market has become synonymous with affordability. Average home prices across the state are well below the national average, which actually bode’s well for residents. In association with an improving economy, Nebraska’s relative affordability should serve to attract buyers from other states. The added attention could serve as a catalyst for activity and permit the local housing market to thrive—even more than it has in recent history. As a result, it’s safe to assume everyone should like what they see in the Nebraska housing market: buyers, sellers and investors.


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