A new report from the Iowa Association of Realtors shows the state’s real estate market wrapped up 2019 with sales up, and prices up, compared to the year before.
Association president Scott Wendl, a realtor in Clive, says more than 42,200 homes were sold statewide last year. That’s up about 500 homes from the previous year. “Home sales were up a little bit, actually 1.2%,” Wendl says, “and the nice byproduct of that also is the actual sales price went up almost 5%.” The median home sales price last year was $168,500 dollars, or about $8,000 lower than in 2018.
“One nice thing about the state of Iowa is, we are still one of the most affordable areas in the United States to purchase a home,” Wendl says. “A lot of that is just the cost of living is lower which reflects to a better median sales price compared to some of the other markets around the country.”
The median sale price for single-family homes was higher each month in 2019 when compared to the same month in 2018.
“With the interest rates still low, it is still driving prices up a little bit,” Wendl says. “Inventory is a little bit tight, especially in the first-time buyer price range. If you’re looking in the upper price range, inventory is a lot better. There’s more to choose from.”
Houses sold quickly in 2019 with an average of 63 days on the market. That’s two days faster than in 2018. Wendl, in his 24th year as a realtor, is optimistic looking ahead into 2020. “I’ve got a positive feeling about it. I know there’s rumors of a recession, but indications for housing isn’t really pointed towards that,” Wendl says. “With the election year, interest rates are predicted to stay relatively flat, where they are right now.”
New construction rose during 2019 and it’s expected to continue rising into 2020, although many experts say new homes aren’t being built quickly enough to meet demand. The year is starting out with brisk sales as he says realtors he’s talked with are experiencing a much busier January than is typical.