Residential Real Estate: 3 Quarters Down, 1 To Go

Fall has officially arrived, and the Des Moines real estate market is also entering the final three months of the year. Overall, the 2019 real estate market has been strong, although constantly playing catchup from a weather delayed start of the year. As we begin the last quarter of 2019, we will take a look at where the most activity has occurred in the metro and also review the year-over-year quarterly sale price trends.

Year-to-Date Metro Market Leaders—How Many, How Much and How Fast

For those of you that follow my reports, it should be no surprise that Ankeny tops the number of sales of all properties combined year-to-date. With over 600 homes sold in the first nine months of the year, Ankeny is ahead of the nearest competitors (West Des Moines and Des Moines Northwest) by 200 sales.

The number of sales does not automatically equal the highest average price of homes sold in the metro. That honor belongs to the tiny but mighty community of Cumming, where the average price of a home sold there is over $387,000. Johnston and Clive come in 2nd and 3rd both averaging $335,000 and $330,000 respectively.

If it’s speed of the sale that you are looking for—which translates into how long a home stays on the market before being snapped up by a buyer, head back to the Des Moines Northwest area of the city (think Beaverdale). Year-to-date, homes there are only on the market 33 days on average. During the peak of the buying season, that number dropped to 20 days.

Four Subcategory Price Trends

When all of the category types are combined, some important market data is missed. By looking at each subcategory, you get a better view of sale price trends and other key data.

  • Single-Family Existing Home Sales. At the end of this year’s 3rd quarter, the Median Sale Price is a strong $205,000. The same period a year ago, the Median Sale Price sat at just over $190,000. That’s a 7.6% increase year-over-year. This does not mean that home values are up by that percentage, but rather buyers are spending more due to higher wage earnings, consumer confidence and low mortgage interest rates.
  • Condo/Townhome Existing Home Sales. Much like the single-family category, condo/townhome Median Sale Prices have also gone up compared to last year at this time. At the end of the 3rd quarter in 2018, the Median Sale Price was $152,250 compared to end of 3rd quarter this year at $163,250, a 7.2% increase.
  • Single-Family New Construction Sales. The local builder market saw competition from national builders DR Horton and Wade Jurney Homes in 2019 that specialize in a lower (and welcomed) price point for new construction. It’s no surprise that the Median Sale Price in this category has dipped from $319,900 to $316,563. What is not as well noticed in this 1% decrease in sale prices are the added incentive concessions across the board by builders wanting to get as many of their properties under contract as possible by years end.
  • Condo/Townhome New Construction Sales. One of the biggest drops in median sale price is this final category. The end of the 3rd quarter last year saw a median sale price of $256,490 versus the current year 3rd quarter pricing at $239,900. This category also makes up the least number of sales in our market (traditionally right around 400 sales per year).

Coming Up Next Time

In my November report, I will be able to make year-end predictions as well as what we could expect in 2020. Will there be a recession in 2020 or will it hold off until 2021? How will the national election affect real estate sales in the next year? Stay tuned!

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