The 10 Best Places To Buy A House In Iowa For 2021


Using science and data, we can tell you which places in Iowa have seen home prices rising and people flocking over the past year.

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Editor’s note: This is not investment advice and we are not financial advisers. Article updated for 2021.

There's a the age old question everyone thinks about when they decide to move to a city in Iowa:

Should I buy a place or rent? Well, we aren't here today to solve that problem for you exactly. We are just assuming you'll do the right thing and a buy a place. And while we are happy to tell you the best place to live in Iowa, this analysis is going to tackle the question of the best place to buy a house as an investor. That is we are going to try and determine the up and coming cities in the Hawkeye State.

To do that we are going to look at places in Iowa that are growing faster than average, but where home prices are below average. In every day terms, the "deals". The best deal in Iowa at the moment? That would be Manchester according to our analysis.

Here's a look at the top ten places to buy a home in Iowa for 2021.

The 10 Best Places To Buy A Home In Iowa For 2021

  1. Manchester
  2. Spirit Lake
  3. Osceola
  4. Vinton
  5. Iowa Falls
  6. Sheldon
  7. Winterset
  8. Glenwood
  9. Red Oak
  10. Clarinda

What's the best place to buy a home in Iowa for 2021? According to our analysis, would the the ideal place to buy a home looking into the future.

The methodology that wen't into this can be a bit complicated, so we'll break it down for you in as much detail as we can below. If you're not worried about finding a deal on good places to live, check out the most expensive places to live in Iowa and, for those of you on a budget, the cheapest places to live in Iowa.

For more Iowa reading, check out:

The 10 Best Cities To Buy A House In Iowa For 2021

Manchester, IA

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 5,019
Median Home Price: $110,400
Population Change: -0.4%
Home Price Change: 1.5%
More on Manchester: Homes For Sale | Data

Spirit Lake, IA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 5,069
Median Home Price: $156,300
Population Change: 1.0%
Home Price Change: 5.5%
More on Spirit Lake: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Osceola, IA

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 5,103
Median Home Price: $95,700
Population Change: 1.6%
Home Price Change: 7.2%
More on Osceola: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Vinton, IA

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 5,103
Median Home Price: $137,600
Population Change: -0.4%
Home Price Change: 9.7%
More on Vinton: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Iowa Falls, IA

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 5,122
Median Home Price: $88,200
Population Change: -0.0%
Home Price Change: 0.9%
More on Iowa Falls: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 5,128
Median Home Price: $130,500
Population Change: -0.1%
Home Price Change: -7.0%
More on Sheldon: Homes For Sale | Data

Winterset, IA

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 5,260
Median Home Price: $158,300
Population Change: 1.1%
Home Price Change: 9.2%
More on Winterset: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Glenwood, IA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 5,326
Median Home Price: $148,500
Population Change: 0.9%
Home Price Change: 3.8%
More on Glenwood: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Red Oak, IA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 5,362
Median Home Price: $82,400
Population Change: -1.3%
Home Price Change: 2.0%
More on Red Oak: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Clarinda, IA

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 5,388
Median Home Price: $93,300
Population Change: -0.2%
Home Price Change: 3.2%
More on Clarinda: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

How do you determine the best places to buy a home in Iowa for 2021?

We were in real estate for almost five years and have been working on this site for another three. Suffice is to say, we've put a lot of thought into what goes into finding a good place to buy a home.

So all that thinking has come to this moment where we get to spell out how we'd approach finding an up-and-coming place to live in Iowa. Put differently, the analysis will try to find places in Iowa with undervalued homes relative to pent up demand.

To do that we looked at the most recent American Community Survey Census data for 2015-2019 and compared it to the previous vintage (2012-2016). Specifically, we used the following criteria:

  • Y-o-Y Change In Population (People want to live here)
  • Y-o-Y Change In Median Home Prices (People are willing to pay for it)
  • Home Prices Relative To The State Average (It's still kinda cheap)

We want places that are growing, have seen home prices increase in recent years, and are still "cheap" for Iowa with the following caveats:

So of the 0 cities and towns in Iowa, only 80 places made it through our initial filters to even be considered.

We then ranked each place from 1 to 80 for the criteria mentioned above with 1 being the best for that criteria. We averaged the rankings to create a "best place to buy" index with the place having the lowest index being the best. You can download the data here.

Turns out that Manchester is the best potential gem in the not-so-rough in the Hawkeye State.

Read on for more on these places.

There You Have It - The Best Places To Purchase A House In Iowa for 2021

There's our analysis of the best places to buy a house in Iowa. And, to be clear, we aren't necessarily saying these places are the best places to live, just that it looks like they might be in a couple of years based on the data.

In fact, every place in the following table meets our criteria, so even though it may not look super long, remember we started off with all 0 places in the state.

So if we'd could rent or buy in these cities, we'd definitely buy.

For more Iowa reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Best Places To Buy A Home In Iowa

City Rank Median Home Price Population Change Home Price Increase
Manchester 1 $110,400 -0.4% 1.5%
Spirit Lake 2 $156,300 1.0% 5.5%
Osceola 3 $95,700 1.6% 7.2%
Vinton 4 $137,600 -0.4% 9.7%
Iowa Falls 5 $88,200 -0.0% 0.9%
Sheldon 6 $130,500 -0.1% -7.0%
Winterset 7 $158,300 1.1% 9.2%
Glenwood 8 $148,500 0.9% 3.8%
Red Oak 9 $82,400 -1.3% 2.0%
Clarinda 10 $93,300 -0.2% 3.2%
Algona 11 $131,500 -0.1% 2.3%
Centerville 12 $68,400 -0.5% 0.0%
Anamosa 13 $103,400 0.3% -2.3%
Asbury 14 $255,500 1.6% 1.3%
Estherville 15 $84,600 -1.1% 2.3%
Oelwein 16 $82,200 -1.2% 10.6%
Maquoketa 17 $90,700 -0.3% 3.3%
Independence 18 $133,100 0.5% 2.1%
Orange City 19 $171,300 0.2% 7.3%
Bondurant 20 $217,500 6.3% 8.2%
Eldridge 21 $254,300 2.0% 6.2%
Atlantic 22 $114,500 -0.6% 8.8%
Nevada 23 $138,700 -0.6% 4.4%
Knoxville 24 $95,100 -0.1% 2.7%
Washington 25 $116,900 -0.4% 3.2%
Hiawatha 26 $143,500 0.7% -3.9%
Charles City 27 $93,600 -0.2% 1.8%
Sioux Center 28 $208,900 0.5% 0.4%
Clear Lake 29 $156,000 -0.6% -1.0%
Perry 30 $89,900 -0.9% 2.5%
Decorah 31 $189,700 -0.8% 6.2%
Webster City 32 $97,000 -0.6% 3.0%
Creston 33 $90,600 -0.6% 1.6%
Denison 34 $93,600 -0.3% 3.2%
Mount Pleasant 35 $116,500 0.6% 7.1%
Grinnell 36 $137,500 -2.1% 0.1%
Pleasant Hill 37 $201,500 1.4% 5.2%
Carroll 38 $148,500 0.1% 2.6%
Le Mars 39 $158,900 0.5% 4.3%
Waverly 40 $173,700 0.2% 3.7%
Pella 41 $187,400 -0.4% 1.3%
Fairfield 42 $114,200 0.7% 12.1%
Keokuk 43 $71,200 -0.8% 1.1%
Fort Madison 44 $81,600 -1.0% 2.6%
Storm Lake 45 $121,300 -1.1% 0.6%
Norwalk 46 $202,900 3.9% 7.1%
Spencer 47 $128,800 -0.4% 3.0%
Oskaloosa 48 $96,300 0.1% -0.4%
Boone 49 $112,200 -0.3% 2.5%
Grimes 50 $225,800 7.6% 6.1%
Newton 51 $114,200 -0.0% 9.4%
Indianola 52 $163,300 1.0% 4.1%
Clive 53 $264,300 -0.2% 4.7%
Altoona 54 $196,600 2.9% 4.0%
North Liberty 55 $220,800 2.6% 6.4%
Waukee 56 $238,900 7.4% 7.9%
Coralville 57 $227,700 2.2% 1.5%
Johnston 58 $268,300 3.1% 7.7%
Muscatine 59 $110,800 -0.4% 3.4%
Fort Dodge 60 $93,600 -0.6% 2.9%
Ottumwa 61 $74,100 -0.5% 0.3%
Burlington 62 $93,200 -0.6% 3.4%
Clinton 63 $99,500 -0.9% 3.5%
Marshalltown 64 $94,300 -0.8% -1.7%
Mason City 65 $114,900 -0.4% 4.3%
Bettendorf 66 $225,300 0.4% 10.1%
Marion 67 $168,700 1.6% 4.5%
Cedar Falls 68 $189,100 -0.5% 4.0%
Urbandale 69 $237,500 1.3% 4.8%
Dubuque 70 $143,500 -0.2% 3.7%
Ankeny 71 $220,100 4.7% 4.8%
Council Bluffs 72 $120,100 -0.2% 2.1%
West Des Moines 73 $218,500 1.9% 3.9%
Ames 74 $205,900 0.1% 4.8%
Waterloo 75 $117,400 -0.3% 3.0%
Iowa City 76 $215,100 0.5% 5.7%
Sioux City 77 $116,600 0.1% 5.7%
Davenport 78 $131,700 -0.1% 3.6%
Cedar Rapids 79 $141,800 0.7% 1.1%
Des Moines 80 $133,200 -0.1% 4.7%

How Is The Area In ?

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.