There’s a the age old question everyone thinks about when they decide to move to a city in Nebraska:
Should I buy a place or rent?
Well, we aren’t here today to solve that problem for you exactly. We are just assuming you’ll do the right thing and a buy a place 😉
And while we are happy to tell you the best place to live in Nebraska, this analysis is going to tackle the question of the best place to buy a house as an investor. That is we are going to try and determine the up and coming cities in the Cornhusker State.
To do that we are going to look at places in Nebraska that are growing faster than average, but where home prices are below average. In every day terms, the ‘deals’.
The best deal in Nebraska at the moment? That would be Hastings according to our analysis.
Here’s a look at the top ten places to buy a home in Nebraska:
- Hastings (Photos | Homes)
- Nebraska City (Photos | Homes)
- Crete (Photos | Homes)
- Scottsbluff (Photos | Homes)
- Beatrice (Photos | Homes)
- North Platte (Photos | Homes)
- Holdrege (Photos | Homes)
- Fremont (Photos | Homes)
- Chadron (Photos | Homes)
- York (Photos | Homes)
The methodology that wen’t into this can be a bit complicated, so we’ll break it down for you in as much detail as we can below.
How do you determine the best places to buy a home in Nebraska?
We were in real estate for almost five years and have been working on this site for another three. Suffice is to say, we’ve put a lot of thought into what goes into finding a good place to buy a home.
So all that thinking has come to this moment where we get to spell out how we’d approach finding an up-and-coming place to live in Nebraska. Put differently, the analysis will try to find places in Nebraska with undervalued homes relative to pent up demand.
To do that we looked at the most recent American Community Survey Census data for 2012-2016 and compared it to the previous vintage (2011-2015). Specifically, we used the following criteria:
- Y-o-Y Change In Population (People want to live here)
- Y-o-Y Change In Median Home Prices (People are willing to pay for it)
- Home Prices Relative To The State Average (It’s still kinda cheap)
We want places that are growing, have seen home prices increase in recent years, and are still ‘cheap’ for Nebraska with the following caveats:
- Home prices had to be within 20% of the state average (Much lower than that and you get to some of the more dangerous places)
- Home prices increased in the last year, and
- Above 5,000 people (Bigger cities have more data points)
So of the 573 cities and towns in Nebraska, only 11 places made it through our initial filters to even be considered.
We then ranked each place from 1 to 11 for the criteria mentioned above with 1 being the best for that criteria. We averaged the rankings to create a ‘best place to buy’ index with the place having the lowest index being the best.
Turns out that Hastings is the best potential gem in the not-so-rough in the Cornhusker State.
Read on for more on these places.
Hastings was founded in 1872 at the intersection of the Burlington and Missouri River Railroad and the St. Joseph and Denver City Railroad. It was named for Colonel D. T. Hastings of the St. Joseph and Grand Island Railroad, who was instrumental in building the railroad through Adams County. The area was previously open plain: the Donner party passed through on its way to California in 1846 and a pioneer cemetery marker in Hastings bears an inscription taken from Tamsen Donner’s journal: ‘The country between the Blue and the Platte is beautiful beyond compare. Never have I seen so varied a country so suitable to cultivation.’ In the 1870s, railroads lured European immigrants to the new state of Nebraska with advertisements. Hastings’ first settlers were English, from Liverpool, and were quickly joined by other English, Irish, Germans, Danes, and Germans from Russia.
Early European-American official exploration was reported in 1804 by Lewis and Clark as they journeyed west along the Missouri River. They encountered many of the historic Native American tribes whose ancestors had inhabited the territory for thousands of years.
The railroad was extended to the area in 1870, bringing settlers. In 1871, two rival towns merged to form a new town, which was named after Crete, Illinois, the former hometown of an early settler. Crete was once a contender for county seat.
Scottsbluff was laid out in 1899 when the railroad was extended to that point.
Gage County was one of the 19 counties originally established by the Nebraska Territorial Legislature in 1854. At the time of its establishment, there were no settlers living within it.
6. North Platte
North Platte was established in 1868 when the Union Pacific Railroad was extended to that point. It was named from the North Platte River.
Holdrege was established in 1883 when the railroad was extended to that point. It was named for George W. Holdrege, a railroad official. Holdrege was designated county seat in 1884.
From the 1830s to the 1860s, the area saw a great deal of traffic due to the Mormon Trail, which passed along the north bank of the Platte River. A ferry connected the two banks of the Elkhorn River near Fremont. It was a major overland route for emigrant settlers going to the West, the military and hunters.
Succeeding cultures of indigenous peoples lived in the area for thousands of years. In historic times, tribes such as the Oglala Lakota (Oglala Sioux Tribe), Cheyenne and others lived in the area. The Sioux used this territory as a hunting ground after pushing other tribes to the west.
York was platted in 1869. The city took its name from York County.
There You Have It – The Best Places To Purchase A House In Nebraska
There’s our analysis of the best places to buy a house in Nebraska. And, to be clear, we aren’t necessarily saying these places are the best places to live, just that it looks like they might be in a couple of years based on the data.
In fact, every place in the following table meets our criteria, so even though it may not look super long, remember we started off with all 573 places in the state.
So if we’d could rent or buy in these cities, we’d definitely buy.
For more Nebraska reading, check out:
Detailed List Of The Best Places To Buy A Home In Nebraska