Business editor/reporter

Matt Olberding is a Lincoln native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who has been covering business for the Journal Star since 2005.

House for sale

Lincoln has the healthiest housing market in Nebraska, according to personal finance website SmartAsset.

The website ranked cities in the state based on a number of factors, including percentage of homes losing value, percentage of homes with negative equity and average days on the market for homes that are for sale.

Lincoln had a score of 87.48, besting second-place Bellevue.

According to SmartAsset, homes sold faster in Lincoln than any other city in the top 10. Lincoln also has the second-lowest percentage of homes losing value.

Lincoln likes home sellers

Lincoln's housing market ranks pretty well nationally, too, at least when it comes to selling your home.

Zillow recently came out with its list of the most "seller friendly" metropolitan areas, and Lincoln came in 25th out of the 200 largest metro areas.

According to Zillow, the median home value in the Lincoln area is $182,400 and homes typically remain on the market for 65 days.

Nationally, Zillow said the housing market still favors sellers but that trend is slowing and moving closer to historical norms as inventory rises and competition dampens.

Businesses seeing the most growth

Speaking of real estate, when it comes to new business formations in Nebraska, it was near the top, according to data from Swyft Filings, a Houston-based company that helps new businesses with legal and compliance tasks.

In Nebraska, the business category with the most growth from 2017-18 was manufacturing, with 200 percent growth. Real estate was second, with 85 percent growth, and retail came in third, with 61 percent growth.

The largest year-over-year declines came in professional services, which saw new business filings decline by two-thirds. Technology, with a 40 percent drop, and construction, with a 35 percent drop, saw the second- and third-biggest drops.

Other findings from Swyft filings:

* Omaha, Lincoln and Elkhorn were the top three cities for new business growth in Nebraska.

* Retail, construction, and transportation were the three industries that saw the largest volume of new businesses statewide, with the construction industry leading new business formations in Omaha and Lincoln.

Local organic raters are best

"Organic" food is good for you, right?

Probably, but there are differing opinions as to what organic is. In fact, there are nearly four dozen organizations just in the U.S. that certify food as organic.

And, according to a report that came out earlier this month, not all organic certification organizations have consumers' best interests at heart.

The report from the Cornucopia Institute alleges that many of the organic certifying groups give their stamp of approval to farming and livestock practices that clearly aren't organic, such as large industrial dairy and poultry operations and hydroponic production of fruits and vegetables.

The good news for Nebraskans interested in organic foods, is that two of the best certifying groups are right here in Lincoln.

Cornucopia rated all 45 U.S. organic certification organizations and only five received an exemplary rating.

Among those were the Organic Crop Improvement Association and OneCert Inc., which both have their headquarters in Lincoln.

According to the group, the two Lincoln organizations actually got the highest scores in the rating criteria used.

To see the scorecard, go to: www.cornucopia.org/certifier-guide.

Listing the lists

Regular readers of this column know I sometimes like to end it with a rundown of recent high rankings of Lincoln and/or Nebraska in national reports. Here are the latest ones:

* No. 11 city where seniors are most prepared for retirement (SmartAsset)

* No. 7 state for savvy consumers (DollarSprout)

Best of the Buzz

Excerpts from recent Biz Buzz posts:

* Legends Patio Bar & Grill closed earlier this month in the Haymarket.

On a post on its Facebook page, the Omaha-based company said the restaurant is "closed for the foreseeable future while we re-evaluate our operations in the Lincoln market."

Legends opened in late 2016 in the former Flatwater Bistro space at 801 R St. after that restaurant closed abruptly.

* Amigos opened its newest Amigos/Kings Classic location at 40th Street and Yankee Hill Road, next to SuperTarget, on Feb. 28.

* Clean Juice, which is a national chain specializing in smoothies, juices and acai bowls, filed a permit for a location at 7811 Pioneers Blvd. That's a new building that houses HomeServices of Nebraska and Bagels and Joe. It appears from the company's website that it would be its first location in Nebraska.

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Go to Journalstar.com/bizbuzz to read more Biz Buzz posts.

Have a business news tip? Send it to businessnews@journalstar.com.


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