Housing market, new companies, young adults driving Omaha’s apartment boom

Published: Oct. 29, 2021 at 5:34 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - As the city continues to expand, apartment complexes are being built nonstop.

An earlier report by 6 News discovered the city has seen some of the biggest growth in apartments in recent years.

Rhonda Pederson with the Nebraska Apartment Association said the need continues to grow.

“We need annually 2,000 units to come online, every single year, in order to meet demand,” she said.

In Omaha alone, 3,000 units have been built in the past two years, City Planning Director Dave Fanslau said.

Local realtor Brittney McAllister said she’s surprised.

“Yeah, I don’t know how they’re going to fill them,” she said. “Who’s going to live in all of these? There’s so many of them going up!”

McAllister said the housing market is still hot, but so many people have struggled to find a place to call home that some have stopped trying.

“When they’re making all these offers, and they’re getting outbid over and over again — it’s kind of a natural, you know buying a home is emotional, so it’s a natural feeling to retreat,” she said. “Maybe this isn’t the right time; maybe we’ll just stay where we’re at, or we’ll just rent for longer. The ‘wait for the market to cool down’ — I’ve heard that so many times.”

Recent studies show that across the U.S., between July and September, the demand for apartments reached its highest peak since the 1990s. Many attribute the change to the tough housing market, keeping people in their current apartments or inspiring them to move away.

“A lot of them are talking themselves out of it; so now, they’re deciding we’ll just stay where we’re at, or we’ll just rent,” McAllister said. “But i think though that once someone’s made the commitment that they want to buy, depending on where they’re looking, they might have already tied themselves to that area.”

The NAA said units here are being filled with people new to the area thanks to larger companies, while local and national real estate data shows that young adults who moved home during the beginning of the pandemic are filling them, too.

As the demand continues to grow, Omaha continues to approve new unit construction. And with no sign of change or stabilization of the housing market as of now, realtors say for those looking to buy a home, it could be time to accept the higher prices.

“It’s usually a trade-off, you’re going to pay about as much on your mortgage as you are in rent, so that’s usually why it makes sense,” McAllister said.

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