The state of Iowa, which sits in the middle of America on top of rich soil, is normally thought of as a land dedicated to farming. What many people do not realize is that beyond farming, Iowa is a very dynamic state which boasts some rapidly growing cities which depend on many different industries including the farming, manufacturing, insurance, and healthcare.
Because of the state’s overall healthy economy and low unemployment rate, Iowa has had one of the most stable real estate markets over the past five years. Compared to other states, Iowa has very low levels of foreclosure and the overall housing prices across the state’s major metro areas have remained quite steady.
The median sale prices in the state range widely by region. The most expensive area in the state is Jackson County, which is near the Quad Cities and has an average for sale price of $300,000. In several rural areas across the state, single family homes can often be found for under $75,000. Overall, the most expensive areas of the state are near the Quad Cities and near Des Moines, IA.
Overall, the state of Iowa has an average listing price of $177,360 and a median sales price of $150,500. These figures are similar when compared to other Midwestern states such as Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, and Kentucky. Iowa’s median prices are less than the national average, which has a median sales price of just under $180,000.
Since Iowa has not experienced a housing meltdown and mortgage crisis like other states, many mortgage lenders are more willing to lend to mortgage borrowers in Iowa than in other states. Mortgage rates in Iowa are often slightly higher than those offered in other areas of the country. The average mortgage rate in Iowa is about 4 basis points higher than the national average. This is slightly attributed to the fact that many homes purchased are part of farming business, which increases the lenders risk.
Like most states, the state of Iowa offers multiple mortgage products including 30-year fixed mortgages, 15-year fixed mortgage, and adjustable rate mortgages. For the most part, in Iowa, the mortgage rate spread from one type of mortgage product to the next is similar to those spreads in other states. A 30-year fixed rate mortgage normally has an interest rate 0.75% higher than a 15-year mortgage and 1% higher than an adjustable rate mortgage.
The most populated city in the state of Iowa is Des Moines, which has just fewer than 200,000 residents. Des Moines is the financial capital of the state and is headquarters of several major corporations including Principal Financial and the Meredith Corporation. Several other major corporations including Wells Fargo, ING, and Nationwide Insurance, have major hubs in Des Moines. Downtown Des Moines has been revitalized in recent years and many young professionals have moved into downtown condos to take advantage of the cities amenities.
The overall Des Moines metro area has grown considerably over the past few years. The 5 county area which makes up the Des Moines metro area has grown from 481,000 residents in 2000 to 556,000 residents in 2008. Much of this is due to urban sprawl as many homebuilders have developed communities in the Des Moines suburbs. The median home price in Des Moines has remained steady throughout the nation’s housing turmoil.
Another popular and growing city in Iowa is Iowa City. Iowa City is home to the University of Iowa, which brings in over 25,000 students each year as well as the state’s largest hospital. Iowa City has undergone much development in recent years and is one of the state’s fastest growing towns. Because of the growth, the median home price in Iowa City has actually increased since 2006. Iowa City will continue to grow as new businesses expand into the area.
Some of populated areas within the state of Iowa include Cedar Rapids, which has a population of over 120,000 and the Quad Cities, which include Dubuque and Davenport.
Overall, the state of Iowa has just over 3 million residents, making it the 30th most populated state in the country. The largest employment sectors in Iowa are agriculture and manufacturing. Much of Iowa’s land is dedicated to fields for farming and raising pork. The largest agricultural outputs in Iowa are pork, eggs, corn, soybeans, oats, and cattle.
While Iowa’s manufacturing industry is the state’s largest industry, it is quite reliant on the agriculture business. 16% of Iowa’s workforce is dedicated to manufacturing, which largely includes food processing of foods grown in the state.
The foreclosure process in the state of Iowa is more beneficial towards homeowners than other states. Lenders are required to use a judicial foreclosure process, which means the whole process is overseen by a judge and the homeowner has the right to re-pay the balance due and end the process at any time prior to order of sale.
The foreclosure process in Iowa is a long one. It takes up to 160 days for the lender to process all necessary documents and in the event the home is foreclosed and re-sold, the homeowner has a right of redemption for up to a full year. Under this right, the homeowner has the right to purchase back their home from someone who purchases it through foreclosure. Because of the long judicial foreclosure process and right of redemption, foreclosures are more difficult for lender in Iowa than in other states.
Because of the long lasting and beneficial foreclosure process, the state of Iowa has one of the lowest foreclosure rates in the country. According to 2009 data, Iowa has a foreclosure rate of just 1 in every 2,138 homes, which gives Iowa the 43rd highest foreclosure rate in the country. Iowa homeowners have also benefited because, unlike many other states, their state’s housing prices did not inflate dramatically in 2005 and 2006. This prevented a real estate bubble from bursting.
The state of Iowa also has full recourse mortgage which means that if the homeowner defaults on the home and the lender forecloses, the borrower may still be liable for the amount due to the lender. If the lender writes off the remaining balance owed, the borrower may have report the amount written off as income and pay taxes on that amount.