Points of Interest
The cost of real estate in Nebraska has risen recently, but it is still affordable. Plus, the low current mortgage and refinance rates ensure you’ll get more bang for your buck in this state.
Nebraska has a high quality of life, attracting both families and retirees. Despite concerns that the coronavirus pandemic would dampen Nebraska real estate values, the property market in the Cornhusker State continues to be robust, with home values on the rise. Nebraska mortgage rates and refinance rates are on par with current national averages — and lower in 2020 than they were last year at this time.
Getting a mortgage in Nebraska
Nebraska is a relatively straightforward state to get a mortgage in. You can opt for conventional as well as FHA and VA mortgages, which are backed by the federal government. The state has several programs designed to assist first-time buyers and for people who want to live in designated target areas. Moreover, closing costs in the Cornhusker State are reasonable.
The state encourages eligible low-income residents to purchase rural land, on which they can construct a new property or renovate an existing one, with mortgage loans that require no down payment.
- Median home price: $147,800
- Average 30-year fixed rate: 3.10%
- Media monthly mortgage cost: $1,352
- Homeownership rate: 66.1%
Nebraska state mortgage rate trends
Like the rest of the country, Nebraska has seen the average cost of a 30-year fixed mortgage rate drop since its recent high in 2018, when the Federal Reserve temporarily raised the interest rates. Although not as low as the national average 30-year fixed mortgage rate, currently 3.070%, Nebraska’s low mortgage rate still helps off-set the rise in home prices. For people who are able to pay a bit more each month, 15-year fixed rates are about a half-point lower than fixed 30-year mortgages in Nebraska.
This downward trend is expected to continue through 2020 as the recession wears on. Refinancing rates are also low, which means it is a particularly good time for Nebraskans to consider refinancing at a lower rate.
Nebraska state current mortgage rates
Right now, the average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage is 3.10%. If you can swing the higher monthly payment and get a 15-year fixed mortgage, the rate drops to 2.65%. A 30-year fixed jumbo mortgage, on the other hand, is 3.12%. The rate for a 5/1 ARM is 3.63%.
If you are looking to refinance your home to get a lower interest rate or tap into existing equity, the current rate for a 30-year fixed refinance is a low 3.15%.
Most and least expensive places to live in Nebraska
Nearly all of Nebraska’s population lies in the eastern half, where the two biggest cities, Lincoln and Omaha, are located. The closer you are to these two cities, the more cultural opportunities there are and the higher home prices tend to be. Outside these cities and their suburbs, towns are small and real estate is affordable.
5 most expensive
- Lancaster County — The city of Lincoln and its environs are a great place to raise a family, with cultural diversity and access to a first-rate education.
- Sarpy County — This Omaha suburb has excellent public schools and reasonable housing prices.
- Douglas County — Another suburb of Omaha, Douglas County ranks high for families, with great public schools, diversity and nightlife.
- Washington County — North of Omaha, Washington County has good nightlife and excellent schools but lacks cultural diversity.
- Cass County — Located between Lincoln and Omaha, Cass County has a high percentage of homeowners, plus good public schools and employment opportunities.
5 least expensive
- Thayer County — Located on the Kansas border in southeast Nebraska, Thayer County has good public schools and great employment opportunities.
- Antelope County — This rural county in northeast Nebraska has excellent public schools, good job prospects and overall high quality of life.
- Fillmore County — Three-quarters of the residents in Fillmore County own their homes. This east Nebraska county has better than average public schools and low real estate prices.
- Richardson County — Tucked in the southeastern corner of Nebraska, Richardson County has good schools, job opportunities and housing prices.
- Knox County — This east Nebraska county borders on the Santee Sioux Nation. It has good public schools and excellent opportunities for employment.
Nebraska state mortgage resources and intricacies
Like many states, Nebraska offers special 30-year fixed mortgage rates for eligible first-time buyers and those who wish to purchase a home in targeted areas through the Nebraska Investment Finance Authority (NIFA). NIFA allows eligible first-time buyers to purchase a home with as little as $1,000 down. The organization also assists qualified veterans and their spouses, even if they are not first-time buyers.
Nebraska also offers Rural Economic and Community Development (RECD) loans, which are subsidized loans for eligible low-income applicants. These loans must be used on land or property in communities with a population of 20,000 or less and can be financed with 0% down. The buyer only needs to pay the closing costs.
Nebraska lenders can charge an origination fee to cover the costs of loan processing, and you may be able to purchase discount points, which lower the interest rate on the loan. Each “point” costs 1% of the home sale price. Other closing costs include an appraisal, title search and review, legal fees and the costs of credit reports.
If you are looking to refinance, you can take out a loan to get a lower interest rate, thereby reducing your payments, or you can refinance to a new term or loan type. You can also opt to tap into the equity that’s built up over time in your property with a cash-out refinance loan.
The final word
Undaunted by COVID-19, the price of real estate in the Cornhusker State has continued to increase. The reason behind this is simple — Nebraska is a great place to live and raise a family. Low Nebraska mortgage and refinance rates make it possible to buy more home for less right now, so you can afford to make an investment in your future.