Housing Options in Greater Des Moines

Whether you’re looking for a gorgeous home with historic roots, a classic suburban abode on a quiet street, a loft in a bustling neighborhood, or an amazing acreage, you’ll find it in Greater Des Moines (DSM). Our abundance of housing options fit a wide variety of lifestyles and budgets. Did you know that DSM is the #7 Most Affordable Housing Market (GoodHire, 2022)? No matter what you’re looking for, DSM is ready to welcome you home.  

Whether buying or renting, both new and old neighborhoods offer residents the chance to discover their perfect fit. The diverse communities of the region are ready to welcome you home.

Find Your Community

Alongside finding the right house in Greater Des Moines, you want to make sure it’s in a community and neighborhood that meets your needs and fits your life.

The region includes an established Downtown and neighborhoods like Beaverdale and Waterbury in the city of Des Moines. Head out to the suburbs closest to Des Moines, like Clive, West Des Moines and Urbandale where you’ll find neighborhoods with new contstruction and homes that are 20-30 years old and pockets charming mid-century homes, shaded by big trees. Other towns like Ankeny, Altoona, Waukee and Bondurant are located on the outer rings of the Des Moines metro area and also have a similar housing mix of primarily new construction, 20-30 year old housing stock and pockets of mid-century homes. Towns on the outer edges of the region each have a unique offering. Many towns have newer housing developments, but you’ll also find houses in every style and age, dating back a century (or more!). 

Buying a Home in Greater Des Moines

The DSM real estate market is booming, but affordability remains strong. Homes in DSM are more affordable than the national average, and residents can buy more while spending less. The median sales price of a single-family home is $291,840 (Iowa Association of Realtors, March 2022).

In this hot market, you’ll want a great realtor to help you navigate the buying process. Check out the Greater Des Moines Partnership’s real estate directory to find a local agent.

The Des Moines Area Association of Realtors and the Home Builders Association of Greater Des Moines are also two valuable resources.

Tips for Finding a House in Greater Des Moines

It’s no secret that the housing market is imbalanced right now. The Des Moines Register has put together a list of tips on how to land the house of your dreams.

  • Do your homework – find a real estate agent and mortgage lender you trust.
  • Know your budget – prevent future stress by knowing the maximum you’re comfortable putting down and carrying as a mortgage payment.
  • Make a strong offer quickly – sellers are getting multiple offers within hours now. If you’ve toured a home and are interested, be ready to make an offer as soon as possible.

Incentive and Support Programs

Tap into many of the programs available to home buyers in Greater Des Moines to support your home sweet home dreams. Your realtor will also be a wealth of information on programs, incentives and more. As you are looking at properties in various cities, check out what municipality-specific programs the city government may offer on homes within their jurisdiction. For example, the City of Des Moines has an employee residency incentive program for city employees. With the program, employees who purchase or own a home in Des Moines are eligible for a $15,000 forgivable loan and renters are eligible for a $2,000 rent reimbursement. 

A few programs to have on your house hunting radar: 

Home, Inc. is the oldest private nonprofit housing organization in Des Moines and provides counseling and services to homebuyers and supports home building and revitalizations. The organization supports clients during their housing journeys to empower them to make a safe, stable home. 

Invest DSM, a collaboration between Des Moines and Polk County, is neighborhood revitalization program and works in four Special Investment Districts across the city of Des Moines. Their programs include a block challenge grant and a homeowner renovation program. 

Iowa Finance Authority has several homeownership programs for Iowans that cover mortgage, down payment and closing cost assistance. (New homeowners, be sure to tap into the FirstHome program.) 

Make Marshalltown Home is a homebuyers cash incentive program which offers $10,000 to homebuyers of newly constructed homes with a construction value of at least $180,000 at the time of the closing. The program is led by the Marshalltown Area Chamber of Commerce and the City of Marshalltown. 

Neighborhood Finance Corporation provides unique lending programs and other services to facilitate neighborhood revitalization. The Greater DSM program is partners with the cities of Des Moines, West Des Moines, Windsor Heights and Urbandale, Polk County and area financial institutions and neighborhood associations. Homeowners can tap into their down payment programs and loan programs for home improvements, energy efficiency and more.  

Renting in Greater Des Moines

Whether you’re a young professional or an empty nester, the region includes many options for apartments, houses, townhomes and lofts available to rent in Great Des Moines. Cost varies depending on what type of space you’re looking to make your home and where in the region you’ll be living. 

The average rent per square foot in DSM is $1.17 and the average unit rent is $1,045. Vacancy rates are at 3.8% and over 2,000 units are currently under construction (CBRE | Hubbell Realty, Multifamily Figures, Q2 2022).