Omaha enjoys a stable, highly diversified economy. The area is not prone to the boom-and-bust cycles seen in many areas of the country, and even during the depths of the Great Recession of 2007-2009, the unemployment rate in Omaha never exceeded 6%. As a result, the city's housing market was largely inoculated from the turbulence seen in 2008 in places such as Miami, Las Vegas and Southern California.

With the median home sales price roughly triple the median household income, Omaha remains an affordable place for middle-class families to become homeowners. In cities with more volatile housing markets, such as Miami, median home sales prices can be as much as six times the median income, putting a typical home out of reach for a typical family. Moreover, while home prices in Omaha have never risen at the breakneck pace of certain Sun Belt cities, neither have they experienced the big declines, making real estate in Omaha a safer investment.

Market Insights

The median Omaha home sales price in May 2011 was $137,000. It remained flat at this level until the following summer, when it climbed to $150,000. From 2012 to 2016, prices rose each summer and receded in the winter, with the general trend being slow and steady appreciation. As of early 2016, the median sales price in Omaha stood at $160,000.

Seasonal fluctuations in sales volume have been significant. Given the law of supply and demand, these fluctuations have contributed to prices being higher during certain times of the year. During the summers of 2014 and 2015, as many as 2,400 homes were sold in Omaha during certain months, while the number of home sales fell as low as 1,200 per month during the winter months.

Property and Transfer Taxes

Exact property tax rates in Douglas County, which includes Omaha, depend on a home's school district, fire district and municipality. For tax purposes, homes in Omaha are assessed at 100% of their market values. Taxes levied include county taxes, city taxes, educational services taxes, fire taxes, school taxes, transit taxes and community college taxes. Homeowners should expect a total property tax rate of 2.25 to 2.5% of their homes' assessed values. For a home valued at the city's median of $160,000, this translates to an annual property tax liability of $3,600 to $4,000.

Nebraska imposes a transfer tax of $2.25 per $1,000 of real estate transferred.

Most Expensive Neighborhoods

Omaha's most expensive and exclusive neighborhoods include Fairacres, Linden Estates and Bay Wood. Fairacres, situated west of downtown and adjacent to the University of Nebraska-Omaha campus, features stately mansions constructed in the 1920s on large lots with mature trees. Prices for single-family homes usually exceed $500,000, though lofts and small condominiums are often listed for much less. The homes in Linden Estates are palatial, often approaching 10,000 square feet and priced at more than $1 million. Bay Wood also features extravagant homes, large lots, a mixture of old and new construction and home prices that almost always exceed $500,000.

The suburb of Papillion, located in Sarpy County to the south, is popular with residents seeking new construction, modern amenities and a smaller town vibe.

Top Real Estate Websites

Omaha home-shoppers enjoy abundant resources online to assist with their searches. FindOmahaHomesForSale.com offers a free MLS home search function and the ability to sort search results by property type, price, and number of bedrooms and bathrooms. The site also features a free home valuation tool for sellers and a prequalification tool for buyers seeking financing.

OmahasEliteRealEstateGroup.com, operated by a team of local agents, features an easy-to-use home search tool, a breakdown of homes for sale in the city's hottest neighborhoods and a blog that the site owners regularly update with information regarding housing market trends in Omaha.

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