Housing prices increasing in Johnson County

In Iowa City, home prices have gone up 3.5 percent every year since 2001, but increased 5.3 percent this year.


Raquele Decker

An apartment sign is seen downtown Iowa City on Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021. (Raquele Decker/The Daily Iowan)

Emily Delgado, News Reporter

Iowa City has seen a 4.3 percent increase in home prices in the last year.

In Iowa City, the average home price was $240,643, according to the Zillow Home Value Index.  Nationally, the housing market saw an increase of 13.2 percent in home costs since last May.

Phoebe Martin, a realtor with Blank & McCune, said home prices generally go up 3.5 percent every year.

“There have certainly been lows, and there certainly have been higher percentages in the past,” Martin said.

Since 2001, Iowa City home prices have increased a total of 74 percent. The biggest decrease in Iowa City and around the country was during the 2008 Housing Crisis, when the housing market collapsed during the Great Recession and displaced 10 million Americans as unemployment rose.

According to CNN Money, 3.1 million Americans filed for foreclosure in 2008 — at the time, one in every 54 homes.

Iowa City Neighborhood Outreach Coordinator and spokesperson Marcia Bollinger said this year, she has seen home prices both decrease and increase.

People are having a hard time buying homes due to a competitive market, she said.

“​​I’ve also been in contact with people who are looking for a real struggle to find anything,” Bollinger said.

Many people buy houses and then flip them, she said, which leads to the homes being automatically priced outside of an affordable bracket.

Bollinger said she has seen a few new housing listings, but the ones she has seen are getting picked up fast.

CNBC reported that low mortgages, low supply, and high demand for homes can keep prices high.

Martin said she is aware that home prices are increasing and attributes that to not just COVID-19 itself but also to the lingering effects from the pandemic, such as labor shortages.

“Yes, prices are increasing because we have to pay more, because there aren’t enough people to do your work or paying higher prices for materials,” Martin said. “I don’t believe that we can say in a blanket way that because of COVID this is happening. I think it’s because of a lot of pieces.”

Martin said a piece of why home prices are going up is because of lack of building materials and lack of labor.

People have been hesitant to rent because of the pandemic, Martin said.

“People are looking at housing differently. I think that people are not wanting to rent as much,” Martin said. “I see a lot more rental vacancies and a lot more first time homebuyers right now.”

Because people were constantly in their homes during the pandemic, Bollinger said it made them realize problems with their home.

In Iowa City, housing prices have gone up 74 percent in the last 21 years, Martin added. This year. Iowa City saw an increase of 4.3 percent — the highest it’s been since 2004.

“Break that down by year, and when you look at those years, you know, we had a couple of years, where you’ll see 10 and 15 percent price increases,” Martin said.

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