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Fall 2019 Housing Report

Hello! This month, I’m presenting numbers, but I’m also speaking anecdotally.  Bear with me.

(If you’re not familiar with our quarterly updates, feel free to check them out here: 2019 Mid Year, 2019 1st Qtr Update, 2018 Update, 2017 Update)

As far as the numbers go, we’re still looking at the same overall trends.  If your house is on the market, and is below $200,000, you should be looking at minimal competition.

As always, whether we have a seller’s market (less than three months of inventory available), a balanced market (three to six months of inventory available), or a buyer’s market (more than six months of inventory available) varies widely based on the price point.  You can see the seller’s market, balanced market, and buyer’s market price points below.

From an anecdotal standpoint, here’s what we’re seeing:

  • Homes that would’ve sold in hours last year might be taking days. It’s still a couple of weeks in general, but it’s a shift.  This goes even for lower priced homes in the seller’s market.
  • Buyers are much more discriminating. They’re willing to wait for the “right” house, so sellers need to do a bit of work to make their house “the one”.
  • Several builders have been jumping into the lower priced new construction market. This will continue to add competition starting around $200,000 and higher.
  • While there are some reports that lower interest rates brought in a few buyers, we personally haven’t seen buyers that jumped in just because of interest rates.


Want to see a pictorial illustration of the market?  Here it is:

What does all this mean?

  • Buyers:
    • If you’re buying a home at $200,000 or below, be ready to pounce when you find “the one”. You still need to be pre-approved before you start looking, and for houses priced correctly, you will need to be ready to compete with other buyers.
    • If you’re buying a home that’s priced above $200,000, you will have more choices from which to choose. This is a fantastic position for you, as you’re likely to get more of your wants included, and you have some room to negotiate.
  • Sellers:
    • If you’re selling your home, be ready for more competition and a slower sale, even if your house is priced at $200,000 or below.
    • You MUST prepare your home to be on the market. Click here for tips on how to prepare your house from our in-house stager, Jeannie Crosby of Make It Sell Designs.

What can we expect for the rest of the year?

Mortgage rates are still below 4% and are expected to stay there for the remainder of the year (or potentially drop a little more).  This is a great time to buy if that fits in your plans.  Or, this is a great time to refinance; you can lower your payments or even take out cash to pay off higher interest debt.  If you’d like to explore the refinance option, you can check our list of mortgage lenders here.

If you’re not moving, make sure you maintain your property.  Deferred maintenance items tend to come up during inspections.  Need ideas on what updates will bring you the highest return?  Just ask.

While the numbers above may give you an idea of what to expect, if you are thinking about making a move, contact us, and we can discuss your situation in more detail, so you can either get the most money for selling your house or buy a new house for the right price (or both)!


* Sales prices in thousands.  This data includes all residential properties in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) for the Des Moines Area Association of Realtors (DMAAR).  For Sale By Owner homes may not be included.
** Seller’s markets are those with 0-3 months of inventory. Balanced markets are those with 3-6 months of inventory. Buyer’s markets are those with 6+ months of inventory.

*** Months of inventory determined by the last nine months of sales numbers.