Spring Floods Add to Sinking Number of Home Purchases

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POLK COUNTY, Iowa — Iowa flooding has devastated communities across the state, and it’s also seeping into the state housing market, sinking potential purchases.

“Life happens.  Nobody knows that a house they had pending right now could fill up with water, furnaces go out, sump pumps fail,” said Scott Wendl, president-elect of the Iowa Association of Realtors.  Wendl added,  “Sometimes you have to do the uncomfortable thing and walk away from the deal and start over.”

Looking at single-family detached homes sold in Iowa for the month of April, the Iowa Association of Realtors says the state saw a decrease compared to April of 2018 by 8.5 percent (3,028 in 2018, 2,772 in 2019) and a 5 percent decrease (9,357 in 2018 YTD, 8,876 in 2019 YTD) in year to date closed sales compared to a year ago.  Wendl said, “Brand new homes could have water in it. It’s something as simple as a sump pump not working the way it should or malfunctioning.  That can happen with a brand new house as well as with a home that is 70 years old.”

Ankeny is an exception to any decline in homes sold.  Averaging seven new residents per day, the U.S. Census has recently named the town of over 67,000 the tenth fastest growing city in the country and realtors are well aware.  Wendl said, “The Des Moines market as a whole, especially Ankeny, even Waukee.  If you look around the outskirts, all they have is farm ground and plenty of room to expand and basically grow the community.”

Despite Mother Nature taking its toll across the state, other numbers like interest rates and an average of 73 days for a home to sell show blue skies ahead.  “We are at a 14-month low for interest rates.  As always, the shiniest home sells fast and good homes will still go on the market and sometimes sell within a day or two,” Wendl said.

The Iowa Association of Realtors recently received a $250,000 national grant for Iowa homeowners who have received flood or tornado damage. The IAR also contributed an extra $25,000 to the grant for a total of $275,000.  A homeowner can receive mortgage payment assistance of up to $1,000. You can apply at www.iowarealtors.com

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