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Des Moines-area home sales continue to lag behind 2021


Nearly 10% fewer homes were sold in the Des Moines area between January and November than during the same period in 2021, according to data from the Des Moines Area Association of Realtors.

However, the drop doesn’t forebode a severe downturn in the housing market in the Greater Des Moines area, said Jen Stanbrough, the group’s president.

“The national news has been pretty overwhelming doom and gloom,” Stanbrough said during the Business Record’s recent virtual discussion about the residential sector. In the Des Moines area, “we’re seeing buyers still buying homes; we’re seeing sellers who are taking that leap and entering the market and listing their homes.”

Stanbrough described the current residential real estate market as even.

“It’s not a seller’s market or a buyer’s market,” said Stanbrough, broker/manager at Jen Stanbrough Real Estate. “It’s giving buyers a chance to breathe and really take time … to get themselves educated and explore several houses.” Sellers are still getting fair, but not inflated, offers to buy their homes, she said.

In November, 933 homes were sold in the Greater Des Moines area, which includes Polk, Dallas, Warren, Jasper, Marion, Madison and Guthrie counties. The number of sales was nearly 14% fewer than the 1,083 sold in October and was 32.6% lower than November 2021, association data shows.

The number of homes sold in the Des Moines area has dropped four straight months, according to association data.

Nationally, existing home sales in the U.S. slipped for the 10th straight month in November and were 35.4% lower than a year ago, the National Association of Realtors recently reported. Sales of previously owned homes dropped 7.7% in November from October.

“In essence, the residential real estate market was frozen in November, resembling the sales activity seen during the COVID-19 economic lockdowns in 2020,” Lawrence Yun, the national group’s chief economist, said in a prepared statement. “The principal factor was the rapid increase in mortgage rates, which hurt housing affordability.”

Interest rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages have fallen for six straight weeks, although they remain double what they were in December 2021. On Dec. 22, the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 6.27%, according to Freddie Mac, the federally chartered mortgage investor.

The slowdown in the market has caused the median sale price of a home to drop in the Des Moines area, association data shows. The median sales price of a home in November was $250,000, a 5% drop from October when it was $262,500. In June, the median sale price was a record $283,500.

“The prices have stabilized a bit,” Stanbrough said.

In November, there were 2,952 homes listed for sale, an increase from a year ago when there were 2,194 listings. Homes were on the market an average of 33 days in the Des Moines area in November.

Heading into 2023, the housing market in the Greater Des Moines area will remain strong, Stanbrough said. “It’s just not going to be what we have been seeing for the past couple years. That was really an anomaly.”

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