Don’t give too much credence to the various doom and gloom predictions of the last year or two about the United State’s real estate market. Home value prices aren’t drastically dropping, the market isn’t crashing and the housing bubble isn’t bursting. It’s simply coming down and leveling out from an uncharacteristic boom of the last decade or so. Besides, knowing what the national medial home value is won’t help you find the perfect new home and area for yourself.
Real estate is an investment, so it’s important to invest somewhere your home is bound to gain value over the years. To do so, you have to examine the specific area you may be investing in. Take a look as past home value and sales trends. Then look at that area’s economy, population changes, job opportunities, unemployment rates and the attractions the area offers. A strong combination of these factors will almost always indicate the potential for large home value appreciation over the years.
Iowa, with its capital of Des Moines, is a state lodged partway between the mid-west and the east coast and is influenced by both. Iowa was home to about 2,982,085 people in 2006 and continues to grow thanks to many factors, but not least of which is low home value averages and a growing economy. Iowa deals mostly with hogs, corn, soybeans, oats, cattle and dairy products on its agricultural side, while its industry sectors include food processing, machinery, electric equipment, chemical products, printing and publishing and primary metals. Although tourism isn’t a major industry in the state, Iowa still has plenty to offer.
Any place that has attractions to offer visitors has a chance to draw in more and more residents. Obviously, the more in demand a spot is to live in, the higher the average home value is bound to be. While Iowa may not be an obvious vacation spot for most, it doesn’t change the fact that the state has plenty to offer in the way of museums, festivals, theme parks, historical sites, water parks and state parks. National historic landmarks include old frontier farms, stations on the Underground Railroad and one of the most famous, the Amana Colonies, seven authentic German villages that were founded as a religious commune 150 years ago and still preserve their traditions, way of life and crafts. You can also retrace the steps of Lewis and Clark, catch a hint of the Old West at rodeos, horse ranches and cattle trails or get a taste of city life in Des Moines. There is of course camping, fishing, boating, hiking and other outdoor activities galore, and the metropolitan areas of the state offer plenty of night life (clubbing, bars, dining, music, etc) as well as shopping, exploring and family entertainment. While not traditionally thought of as a hot spot to visit, Iowa does have plenty of activities for anyone looking for a laid back, simple vacation.
Though Iowa may not have quite the tourist pull as other states, it’s still doing fine in important matters of unemployment, income and economy (the things that really drive home value prices). Iowa’s unemployment rate is down to about 3.6% and has seen a growth of job opportunities in sectors such as trade, transportation and utilities and leisure and hospitality, which may be an indication of a growing tourism sector. The median household income was projected to be about $46,170 in 2005, but has actually declined from inflation adjusted values in 2000 to $43,609. Iowa falls about in the middle when it comes to household income compared to other states.
The low cost of housing helps offset lower income, as the average home value sales price in April 2007 was only about $146,075 and in the 1st quarter of this year, the median home value of properties sold was only at about $110,000. As a matter of fact, all housing-related costs are low in Iowa, with only 12% of households spending more than 30% of their income on housing, which is the second lowest in the country. These facts show that although home value rates in Iowa are not appreciating noticeably (and in some areas seem to be decreasing) the cost of living is low enough to offset the low home value appreciation. Des Moines, the biggest city in Iowa, seems to be very affordable, with home value appreciation slow but steady over the last few months, and a median home value of about $109,000. Sioux City and Iowa City are the more pricey areas to live in the state, with median home values the past couple months of $139,178 and $225,831 respectively.
All in all, Iowa does not have the strongest real estate market nor highest home value appreciation in the country. There has been moderate decrease in some areas, while other areas have seen a modest increase in home value. However, with a growing job force, more employment opportunities and such a low cost of living (and housing for that matter) there is no reason why over the next year or so, people wouldn’t want to at least visit the state. If Iowa can create more incentive to live there, there is no reason why a large influx of wannabe residents won’t help get home value averages rising and the market going strong again.
About The Author
Ashley Lichty is a webmaster and the resident SEO of Web Xtreme, Inc. She has a background in real estate and marketing with an emphasis in writing.
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