Challenging Weather Continues in Central Iowa in July


The Beauty of Iowa Shines Through

As bad as weather can sometimes be in Iowa, there is always beauty to be found. 

Looking back beyond the last 3 or 4 years, the Des Moines real estate market appears to be acting more normal this year. Spring home buying activity actually started in late March vs January as it has done the last couple of years.  Throw in some abnormal extreme heat in May, a very wet June with flooding, which will now be referred to as “the flood of 18” on Sellers Property Disclosures and then the aftermath of the tornado damage locally in Bondurant as well as outside of our market in Marshalltown and Pella.  

Flooding & Tornados
The question I am frequently asked is “have the recent weather events caused any disruption to the local real estate market this year?” Iowan’s are pretty resilient when it comes to Mother Nature and while there were homes destroyed by the flood and tornados, very few of the For Sale or Pending properties experienced damage. Some homes in the MLS experienced wet basements, downed tree limbs, etc., but the numbers were fairly low primarily because we continue to have extremely low inventory levels of homes for sale. So, my general answer is that there has not been a huge disruption in local real estate sales.

Checking in on July’s Numbers
Our real estate market is really divided up into four segments. Single Family, Condo/Townhome, New Construction and Resale (Existing Homes). This month I’ve broken down each of these four market segments looking at listing inventory as well as year to date sales. (As of July 24th, 2018)

  • Single Family Resale
    Single family resale properties make up 57% of all homes for sale with a Median List Price of $269,000
    5,654 homes have Sold year to date with a Median Sale Price of $187,000
  • Single Family New Construction
    New construction single family homes for sale account for 29% of all inventory and a Median List Price of $334,900
    1,032 homes have closed year to date with a Median Sale Price of $320,322
  • Condo/Townhome Resale
    Resale condo/townhomes for sale represents 7% of all homes for sale in the MLS and a Median List Price of $180,950
    1,003 homes sold year to date with a Median Sale Price of $148,000
  • Condo/Townhome New Construction
    Condo/Townhome new construction properties for sale brings up the remaining 7% with a Median List Price of $256,300
    244 of these homes have closed year to date with a Median Sale Price of $244,000

Why Are Pending Sales Lagging Behind This Year?

The Pending Sales count stat has puzzled me every month this year. I have been trying to understand how Pending sales can continually be behind last year when closed transactions are running neck and neck with 2017. I reached out to several mortgage lenders asking them a simple question. “Are homes going from offer acceptance to closing quicker this year than in the past couple of years?” Their answers confirmed my suspicion. A typical home sale is closing consistently in the 25 to 30-day time frame compared to 30 to 35 days last year.

What changed? Remember TRID? “TILA/RESPA Integrated Disclosure Rule”. It officially went into effect late 2015 and after a few revisions, it was fully implemented in 2016 and 2017. At that time, Realtors were being told to plan on 45 day closing periods. The majority of mortgage lenders I spoke with confirmed that the early delays that TRID caused were gone and mortgage lenders have perfected their closing process to comply with TRID. As a result, 2018 has seen the benefit of faster closings. What appeared to be a downturn in Pending sales was actually homes staying in Pending status a shorter time. Mystery solved!

Monthly Market Snapshot as of July 31st

(Click Graphic To View Full Size)

The big change this month is the swing for New Construction Months of Inventory. New home inventory is increasing while the months of inventory are back deep into a Buyers Market with over 8 months of inventory as of July 31st.

2018 Year Trend Reports
Active – Pending – Sold – Balance of the Market
Compared To 2017

(Click Graphic To View Full Size)At the rate that homes for sale inventory is increasing, we will easily surpass 2017’s high level of just over 3,700 homes on the market. Could we finally get back to 4,000 homes for sale? Note also the YTD Closed sales.. Even with the higher inventory, we are right on track to close 14,000 sales again in 2018.

Home Inventory and Pending Sales Compared Over Time

(Click Graphic To View Full Size)

This graphic allows you to see how Home Inventory and Pending Sales both compare to different points in time from a week a back to as far as 9 years back. 

Months of Inventory
Buyer Pool and by Price Point

(Click Graphic To View Full Size)

~Les Sulgrove, Broker
VIA Group REALTORS


If you are interested in selling your home or purchasing a home, give me a call! I will help you determine your best strategy based on your local market data.

About Les Sulgrove

Les is an Iowa native born in Des Moines and raised in the southwest Iowa town of Bridgewater. He has been a resident of Des Moines since 1982 and has been married to his wife Linda for over 35 years. Together they have 3 grown children, 7 grandchildren and make their home on Des Moines south side. He has been a licensed REALTOR® since 1990 and is Vice President at VIA Group, REALTORS®. Les is the 2011 Past President of the Des Moines Area Association of REALTORS® (DMAAR) and received the award of Salesperson of the Year by DMAAR in 2007 for his involvement and service to the Association. Additionally, he is active at the Iowa Association of REALTORS® and serves on local, state and national committees. He also owns and operates the national technology networking group CyberProfessionals. This group of real estate professionals meets twice annually across the United States to learn from each other and share new marketing ideas with heavy emphasis on current and future technologies and their use in the real estate business. Les’ hobbies include golf, photography and sarcastic humor. He and Linda spend many Saturday mornings from Spring to Fall at the Des Moines Downtown Farmers Market. He enjoys spoiling his grandchildren at every opportunity.

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