Des Moines Real Estate—2019 Market Review

The final numbers are in and the Des Moines real estate market for 2019 ended the year within a couple hundred closed sales as 2018. All things considered, my assessment is that 2019 was a good and stable year for Des Moines home sales.

No Recession Predicted For 2020

As I’ve written about previously, the overall economy of the country and in particular, Central Iowa has been strong the last several years. According to National Association of Realtors Chief Economist Lawrence Yun addressing Realtors at the National Realtors Conference in San Francisco last November, “When housing is positive, the economy doesn’t go into a recession.” Yun went on to predict GDP growth of 1.6% in 2020, down from 2% in 2019 and 1.5 million jobs are expected to be created in 2020.

Central Iowa Home Values Rose Modestly in 2019

The majority of home styles sold in our market in 2019 were ranch style and two-story homes. Home values for single family properties rose 2 ½% over the previous year, but the bigger news was that home values for resale condo/townhome properties increased around 5% from 2018. This market segment also had the lowest months of inventory to pick from by home buyers. The average sale price in the entire MLS for a resale single family home in 2019 was $220,500 compared to a much lower and more affordable resale condo/townhome average sale price of $177,000.

Sales Volume vs Number of Sales

Of the past five years, 2017 was the peak year in total homes sold with 14,851. In 2018 that number dipped around 2½% and dipped again this year by another percent ending 2019 at 14,291 sales. However, the total sales volume has increased every year since 2010 ending 2019 at $3.32 billion dollars indicating that home affordability is up mostly due to higher income earnings and lower mortgage rate costs.

Single Family Resale Homes Lead the Pack

7 out of 10 properties sold in 2019 were single family resale homes. New construction single family sales edged out the number 2 spot with 1,747 new builds, followed closely by resale condo/townhomes at 1,617 sales. Less than 500 new construction townhome/condos sales were recorded in the MLS in 2019.

Metro Area Recap

The usual winner in the metro for number of homes sold was again Ankeny, closing just over 1,700 sales. Slightly more than half of those were from resale single family properties. New construction single family homes came in 2nd place in Ankeny followed closely by resale condo/townhomes. All in all, the Ankeny market continues to see expansion north and east with little chance of end in sight.

West Des Moines came in second place in total sales at 1,229 and the northwest area of Des Moines (think Beaverdale/Merle Hay areas) ended the year with just over 1,000 closed sales. A perennial favorite, Waukee came in 6th place at around 650 closed sales. Sales in this fast-growing western suburb were up from 2018 and there is a lot of development and potential in the coming years for massive growth in the western corridor.

The average sale price of a resale single family home sold in the metro for 2019 was $232,500 and 38 days on market, with single family new homes tipping the scale on average at $350,000.

In Closing

The local Des Moines real estate market for 2019 should be looked upon with comfort that home values didn’t decline, the economic recession that the media would like to see arrive ahead of the national presidential election doesn’t appear to be coming and while home inventory levels are still very low, we began to finally see an increase in homes for sale in the last half of the year. Hopefully that trend will continue into 2020 and we move towards a more balanced market that favors both buyers and sellers.

A complete and comprehensive analysis of Des Moines Real Estate 2019 Market Review and more can be found by going to SimplyDesMoinesStats on Facebook.

Les Sulgrove, Vice President of VIA Group REALTORS, has sold real estate in Des Moines since 1990, tracking local real estate market trends since 2009. Follow Les on Twitter @lessulgrove or at View this data along with more real estate market statistics at