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Omaha: How's the housing market where Warren Buffett lives?

A $1.2 million house in Omaha, Neb.

Lisa Ritter, owner of the real estate agency RE/MAX Results and treasurer for the Nebraska Realtors Association

On paper, Omaha looks like a pretty great place to live: It's consistently rated one of the most affordable cities in the country. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says it has an unemployment rate of just 4.1 percent and it's the city Warren Buffet calls home.

Lisa Ritter, owner of the real estate agency RE/MAX Results and treasurer for the Nebraska Realtors Association, joins us to give us our tour of Omaha. Ritter says the market is thriving.

"The number of homes on the market available for sale is lower than ever, but we still have the same number of buyers competing to get those homes. So the sellers are in a good position," says Ritter. "There are a number of short sales that are still occuring. I see it being a little higher than in the years past. The nice thing about short sales versus foreclosures is that the sellers are still able to redeem some of their credit. You would typically see credit impacted for about two or three years versus seven through a foreclosure. So more people are taking the time to go down that route versus just giving up."

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Ritter says typically in Omaha homes go for about $180,000.

"A lot of the buyers that we're seeing are people coming out of merged households. As a matter of fact, two of the sales that I was the listing agent on were people who were coming out of their parents' homes. Nationally, real estate projects say that we're going to continue to see that," says Ritter.

Ritter says a good economy and low unemployment are two factors why Omaha's housing market is doing so well.  

"As a broker and owner in Omaha -- and I know a lot of my fellow broker/owners feel this way too -- we are more optimistic than we've been in a long, long time. We see sales increasing by 3-5 percent, which is a very healthy place to be."

About the author

In more than 20 years in public radio, Barbara Bogaev has served as the longtime guest host of NPR’s flagship program Fresh Air with Terry Gross, as well as host of APM’s news and culture magazine, Weekend America and the weekly national documentary series, Soundprint.

Lisa Ritter, owner of the real estate agency RE/MAX Results and treasurer for the Nebraska Realtors Association

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