Cost of Living in Iowa

Cost of Living in Iowa


One of the advantages of moving to the state is that the cost of living in Iowa is significantly lower than the national average, about 12 percent lower overall. Although specific costs will vary by city, practically everything will be cheaper in Iowa.

Housing Costs in Iowa

Affordable housing prices are a major factor in the low cost of living in Iowa. According toTrulia.com, the average listing price for a single-family home in Iowa is $174,101, higher only than the average listing price in Ohio. Homes in small towns will usually be less expensive than housing in urban areas, and houses in the country can be even less expensive. Here’s a look at median sales price for single-family homes in the fourth quarter of 2011, by metro area.

  • Des Moines: $122,500
  • Cedar Rapids: $138,000
  • Davenport: $123,500
  • Bettendorf: $179,500
  • Waterloo: $83,000
  • Cedar Falls: $194,000
  • Iowa City: $178,000
  • Council Bluffs: $118,500
  • Dubuque: $134,700
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Renting is also an option all across Iowa. You’ll find apartment rentals in the cities, single-family homes in towns of every size, and even small acreages and farms available for rent. As in any state, location and demand will dictate rental prices. Apartment rentals will be highest in college towns, especially college towns such as: Iowa City, Cedar Falls and Ames.

Future Cost of Living in Iowa

Although there’s no way to predict the future with 100 percent accuracy, the cost of living in Iowa is expected to remain lower than average. Unlike other parts of the country that have seen extreme changes to their economy and cost of living in the past—either up or down—Iowa’s economy has stayed fairly stable over the last several years. Iowa’s economy is very diverse, which helps protect it from big spikes that may occur in one particular industry.

Cost of Living vs. Income in Iowa

With a lower cost of living in Iowa, should you expect to earn less? Not necessarily. US Newsnamed Des Moines the richest metropolitan area in the country in 2011 because earnings were relatively high compared to the low cost of living. Several of Iowa’s cities also saw above-average job growth in recent years, despite a national recession. Dubuque, Iowa City and the Waterloo/Cedar Falls metro area all saw more than a one percent increase in annual job growth recently.

A low cost of living in Iowa combined with growing job markets make the Hawkeye State an appealing destination for people looking to improve their bottom line. Focus on Iowa’s metropolitan areas for the best chance of breaking into a higher income bracket while maintaining a low cost of living.

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