March 2020

Iowa Housing Market Vitality



Iowa metro area house prices are forecasted to underperform the national market. Current local conditions support an estimated 5.2% increase in the next twelve months. Iowa’s housing market vitality, based on the nine metro housing markets which comprise it, is weaker than that of the overall U.S. and currently ranks the state as forty second in the nation. Recent changes in local conditions suggest the possibility of moderation in short-term performance.

Housing Market Vitality

Housing Market Vitality summarizes the impact of economic conditions on future house prices. A value of 100 corresponds to conditions supporting current prices; values less than 100 correspond to a dampening effect; and values greater than 100 indicate a positive effect on house prices.  A housing market vitality value can be interpreted as a forecasted growth rate. Hence, a reading of 105.8 can be interpreted as a forecasted 5.8% annualized increase in house prices.

Iowa Metro Housing Markets

Iowa is comprised of nine metro housing markets that account for nearly 58% of the state’s population. The markets are unique in their demographics and local economies and exhibit trends that are distinct from the national or state narrative. Each metro market presents its own unique opportunity.

Ames, IA Underperform 395
Cedar Rapids, IA Underperform 385
Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, IA-IL Track 319
Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA Underperform 337
Dubuque, IA Track 94
Iowa City, IA Underperform 386
Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE-IA Outperform 50
Sioux City, IA-NE-SD Underperform 347
Waterloo-Cedar Falls, IA Underperform 383

Industry Specialization

Iowa’s state economy is specialized in Trade Trans Util, Fncl activities, and Manufacturing. Mining, Pro Bus svcs, and Construction industry sectors are less important to the state economy compared to the national economy.

Industry specialization helps explain the differing impact of industry trends on local economies in contrast to industry composition which describes the structure of the economy. A Specialization Index value greater than 100 corresponds to the sector having a greater share of the state economy than it does of the national economy. Sectors with a Specialization Index greater than 120 characterize the local economy.


Compared to the U.S., there is a lower incidence of poverty amongst Hawkeye State residents and they have greater purchasing power. There are more high school graduates and a larger proportion of the population is college educated. Iowa’s population is comparatively less diverse than the overall U.S. population.

A Demographics Index value greater than 100 corresponds to the factor being more intense in the state versus the national average. Characteristics of the local population is a longer-term factor that influences the housing market.