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Rents down in Lincoln? Housing advocate skeptical about report’s findings

Lincoln Housing
Posted at 10:15 PM, Feb 22, 2022

LINCOLN, Neb. (Nebraska Examiner) — As average rent in most states was up this time of year compared to last, rent in a slice of bigger cities — Lincoln among them — reportedly went down. That’s according to the latest national analysis by Rent.com.

In its February rent report, the online apartment locator said January rent for a one-bedroom unit in Lincoln declined by 6.8% compared to the same month a year ago.

The $992 average price there was higher than the $983 reported for an average one-bedroom apartment in Omaha, a city that reportedly saw an average price hike of 3% over a year ago.

Rent.com bases its reports on data from Apartment Guide and Rent.com’s multifamily rental property inventory, focusing on the nation’s 100 largest cities.

‘Hearing the opposite’

Furthermore, Lincoln was among three cities — joining Pittsburgh and Kansas City, Mo. — that made it on Rent.com’s Top 10 lists for declining rent for both two-bedroom apartments as well as one-bedroom units.

Nancy Petitto, a Lincoln-based housing advocate for Civic Nebraska, said declining rents is not something her team is hearing about or seeing as they work on affordable housing issues.

“Organizers in our neighborhoods are hearing the opposite,” she said.

From Petitto’s perspective, she said, newer developments rising in parts of Lincoln seem to have pushed up rents overall.

Of the markets analyzed in the Rent.com data, rents for one-bedroom units were up in 81% of the cities, and for two-bedroom units, they were up in 76% of the cities.

Looking at the data from a statewide lens, more than 95% of states saw increases in rent for both apartment types, the report said.

Prices rise for for-sale housing

Meanwhile, an update about the for-sale housing market in the Lincoln and Omaha areas shows that the median sales price of a house leaped by nearly 15% so far this year over the same period last year.

The number of homes on the market available to sell plummeted nearly 16% over the same period last year, according to newly-released data from the Great Plains Regional MLS area.

The report said that 2022 began where 2021 left off. Last year, it said, home sales nationally reached the highest level since 2006, despite a shortage of homes for sale. Buyers were spurred in large part by low mortgage rates, realtor groups say.

Nebraska Examiner is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Nebraska Examiner maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Cate Folsom for questions: info@nebraskaexaminer.com. Follow Nebraska Examiner on Facebook and Twitter.

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