As published in Scotsman Guide's Residential Edition, June 2009.
A year after heavy flooding in Des Moines, Iowa, gained national attention, the nationwide deluge of foreclosures appears to be lapping at the city.
What the Locals Say _____________________________________
"The Des Moines market is pretty much in line with the rest of the country — it’s benefiting from lower interest rates but remains fragile. The key to the whole market here is job stability. The job market is very stable with many high-paying jobs in the financial-services industry. At the same time, housing remains affordable."
— Ben Poole, owner, Preferred Home Mortgage LLC
Foreclosure filings in the metropolitan area jumped 70 percent in the first quarter of this year compared to a year earlier, according to RealtyTrac. A bump in unemployment likely influenced the increase. Regardless, the rate of one foreclosure filing per 270 housing units in the capital-city metropolitan area bested the national metro average of one filing per 159 housing units.
In late April, city officials announced they will use $3.9 million in federal funds to renovate or demolish about 90 foreclosed-upon homes, the Des Moines Register reported. The program intends to keep blight from encumbering upon nearby properties.
Meanwhile, the city's year-to-year home-price average increased 1.1 percent in February but dipped 7.6 percent in March. Despite the recent decline, March prices stood 12.3-percent higher than they did in 2000. One factor could be that Des Moines' housing market never saw dramatic run-ups.
"I don't expect we're going to see the downturns, either," says Arthur Cox, director of the University of Northern Iowa's Center for Real Estate Education.
↓ Population: 196,998
Population in 2000: 198,682
Rank (U.S.): 110th-largest
Metropolitan-area population: 546,599
Metropolitan-area rank: 91st-largest
↑ Average commute: 18.6 minutes
Average commute in 2000: 17.5 minutes
U.S: 25.3 minutes
↑ Median household income: $42,953
Median household income in 2000: $38,408
↑ Median age: 36.5 years
Median age in 2000: 33.8 years
U.S.: 36.7 years
↑ Unemployment: 6.4 percent
Unemployment in March 2008: 4.7 percent
U.S.: 8.5 percent
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