It's Not Hard to Find Great Values in Des Moines, IA

☕️ 4 min read By Noah Blumberg

Des Moines, Iowa is a place known for low housing prices and, despite the steep growth in prices since the pandemic, it remains true. It's clear from our ranking list data that prices are highly dependent on location. You'll see steep price increases for the most desirable areas. The best values are to be found in the less desirable areas, but not the very bottom. Of the 13 zip codes in the Des Moines areas, the best values are predominantly in the 11th and 12th most desirable zip codes.

It's rare to see such a large price disparity between the most and least desirable zip codes. 50321, for example, has a zipX score of 1.46, which essentially means you can expect to pay 46% more for a comparable house than you would in the least desirable zip code. There are an additional 3 Des Moines zip codes that have a zipX score of more than 1.3. See our FAQs for more information about zipX.

The Properties

The #1 real estate property on our ranking list is not what it seems. With a score more than 15 points higher than the #2 property, it appears to be an excellent value. It's apparently a home in reasonable condition and the price is under $40,000, but unfortunately, there are some major caveats. It's occupied, no access or viewings are allowed, and is a cash-only as-is sale which means no contingencies or inspections can be attached in the deal. Those are some major risks which make the property only right for only buyers with experience in similar situations.

There's no need to be discouraged though, the #2 property represents a great value. The property has an almost 8-acre lot in the city limits. Beside the expansive property, a large unfinished basement also presents possibilities for expansion or perhaps an in-law unit. An investor or regular homebuyer should take a close look at it.

Des Moines is Broadly Affordable

If you're looking for a real estate property in Des Moines, you may be concerned about whether or not you'd be buying at a time of inflated prices. It's true that prices have increased in Des Moines, but not to the astronomical degree that they have in other cities. Florida Atlantic University School of Business looks at the top 100 real estate markets in the U.S. and ranks them from overpriced to underpriced. Des Moines is 75th, indicating it's priced fairly relative to other cities. And WalletHub rates Des Moines the 18th out of 300 cities for affordability even after recent home value appreciation.

There's good news for investors as well. Jobs have come back to Des Moines slightly above pre-pandemic levels. This, combined with the fact that the price to rent ratio remains low, shows that it's possible for an investor to buy a single family home, rent it, and realize a profit. Additionally, Roofstock counts Des Moines among the best places to buy a rental property because of strong appreciation and rent growth.

Reading Resources

Here are the top 25 properties. To see them all or get a list for another city, order a custom list!
Median List PriceMedian SqftMedian Lot Size(SqFt)Median HOA Fee
Score**PropertyZipX**TypeBedsSqFtLot Size(sqft)Price

1911 College Ave
1.13single family29656,160$39,900

4620 NW 6th Dr
1.12single family2864346,302$325,000

1630 12th St
1.13single family528816,621$210,000

1920 Arlington Ave
1.13single family5247610,324$220,000

4245 NW 11th St
1.12single family283211,500$60,000

3413 2nd Ave
1.12single family526786,316$239,000

1315 York St
1.00multi family016647,492$90,000

1521 10th St
1.13single family516037,405$159,900

519 Franklin Ave
1.13single family423417,362$200,000

1340 8th St
1.13multi family043839,845$225,000

1913 E Bell Ave

1946 Arlington Ave
1.13single family318055,924$149,900

2250 Garfield Ave
1.14single family419207,275$175,000

4038 E Univeristy Ave
1.14single family296935,371$110,000

1109 26th St
1.23single family526176,142$347,500

1215 Clark St
1.13single family314084,008$125,000

4220 Foster Dr
1.37single family6472629,751$839,000

3105 5th Ave
1.12single family410364,966$124,900

2528 SE 5th St
1.15single family311246,360$120,000

3310 Southern Hills Dr
1.47single family5349024,568$599,900

1750 E Diehl Ave
1.25single family4196268,607$349,000

917 30th St
1.37single family315627,449$189,900

4000 University Ave Apt 2

840 E 24th Ct
1.14single family37138,494$91,500

1944 Arlington Ave
1.13multi family0189910,498$139,900
*This table shows only few basic data points. Rankings are based on 22 data points and 7 calculations per property.**Find explanations of ZipX aka zip multiplier and Score here.