Des Moines Housing Market Update: 2021

How was Real Estate in 2021 in Des Moines?

If you thought 2020 was a crazy real estate year… you may not have buckled up from the insanity that was 2021!

We had another record-breaking year of real estate sales here in Des Moines, jumping from ~16,500 transactions to over 17,500.  I feel like a broken record, but 2021 was, by far, the strongest real estate market we’ve had since we started our annual updates way back in 2015.

Last year, we predicted that the market would stay on fire through 2021. Whew – we were right about that!

Some notable changes:

  • Properties sold continued to rise, but the overall trend did slow down.
  • We’re still looking at very low active properties, and quite low months of inventory almost across the board (as of Jan 3rd, 2022).
  • The average price jumped from $245,182.49 to a whopping $275,610.75.

Overall, the curve for homes sold is shifting to the right… into the higher price points. You can even see the changing price points in the chart below:

The chart below shows where we have been in 2021. As always, whether we have a seller’s market (less than three months of inventory available), a balanced market (three to six months of inventory available), or a buyer’s market (more than six months of inventory available) varies widely based on the price point.  You can see the seller’s market, balanced market, and buyer’s market price points below.

Our Observations:

Considering Buying?

If you’re considering buying a home in the next couple of years… here’s what you need to know:

  • Rates are projected to rise in 2022. What this means: home prices may stabilize, or at least not grow as fast, but with a higher rate, your maximum price will probably come down.
  • The exception to home prices stabilizing new construction. Supply chain and subcontractor issues have driven up the prices of new construction over the past 2 years. If you’re considering building in the next few years, start looking into it right now.
  • Homes are not typically flying off the shelf as much as they were in the spring of 2021. However, this is a lull in the market, and this could change quickly.

And if this describes you, and you decide to jump in… be prepared. Meet with the REALTOR® of your choice (preferably us, of course!), get on an automated search on the Multiple Listing Service, and be flexible with your schedule so you can see houses right away.

Considering Selling?

Yes, please! If you have a home you want to sell, please, please, get it on the market! Again, meet with the REALTOR® of your choice (hey, we’re here!), and get moving. We would love to have more options for our buyers.

Anecdotally, we are seeing more and more price decreases. Even though we have low inventory, buyers are pickier about what they want to buy. Be ready for the stress and emotional rollercoaster of having a home on the market. It’s not unusual anymore, and it’s due to these factors:

  • Buyer’s Remorse: When buyers are paying top dollar, and then find (sometimes small) issues during the inspection, they are more likely to ask for everything. And now the ball is in the seller’s court to decide how to handle these requests.
  • Financing Issues: The volatility of the economy continues to wreak havoc with some buyers’ ability to obtain financing. While buyers should always be pre-approved when they write an offer, if something changes with employment or finances between offer acceptance and closing, the contract could be canceled.
  • Appraisal Issues: Just because a buyer believes your house is worth $50,000 over list price, that doesn’t mean the appraiser will agree! Check with your REALTOR® to see what they think of potential appraisal issues before you decide how you’re spending your money.

Not Moving?

So, you already love where you live? That’s awesome because moving is a pain. Right? If you’re neither selling nor buying, but you purchased a home prior to 2021, it might be time to refinance.  You can find our favorite mortgage lenders here.

The Bottom Line

Considering a move in 2021? If you have a REALTOR®, that’s great.  If you don’t, the Home Sweet Des Moines team (brokered by Realty ONE Group Impact) is ready to help. Contact us! We’d love to help. And even if you’re not moving, feel free to say hi. We love all our clients, past, present, and future!


Licensed in the state of Iowa. Home Sweet Des Moines - Realty ONE Group Impact

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