Housing prices up in Iowa City

This year’s recession has impacted the housing market, causing prices to skyrocket in Iowa City. Real estate agents say buyers are struggling with severe competition.


Grace Smith

Houses are seen in Iowa City on Monday, July 25, 2022.

Kate Murphy, News Reporter

Note: This is part four of a series detailing the approaching recession’s effect on Johnson County.

Home prices in the Iowa City area have risen rapidly in the last year. Real estate agents are unsure when buyers will find relief.

As of June 2022, the housing market in Iowa City is a sellers’ market. House prices are higher and homes are selling more quickly than normal. The median sold price this summer is $285,000 in Iowa City – $47,500 higher than June 2021.

Real estate agent Mark Kamps, who works at Coldwell Banker in Iowa City, said the market has been extremely competitive in the last few months.

“I’ve been in real estate for over 38 years and I’ve never seen anything like this,” Kamps said. “People are willing to pay well over the asking price and will still be outbid.”

Kamps said even cash buyers with no contingencies are losing out to other buyers. Mortgage rates have also increased, making it much harder for buyers to afford homes in their specific price ranges.

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“I had one couple who just bought a house last weekend. They searched for months and lost four offers before they finally found a home. They were extremely frustrated; the competition is tough right now,” Kamps said.

Another realtor, Mark Paterno of Urban Acres in Coralville, said he’s also seen the extreme competition between buyers.

“I had one property I was selling with nine offers on it,” Paterno said. “People are desperately trying to buy houses with very limited options.”

Paterno said the real estate market is operating a lot differently than it has in the past.

“Typically, we have a person or persons who schedule a showing of a house, then, they might make an offer. Now, we’re getting so many offers on just one property that we’ll have to say something like, ‘I’m not looking at offers until Monday.’”

Housing market prices in Iowa have gone up over 13 percent since this time last year. Paterno isn’t sure when buyers may find relief.

Tracy Adams, another real estate agent from Coldwell Banker, believes there’s hope in the near future for buyers in Iowa City.

“Compared to the fast-paced market we’ve been dealing with in recent months, the competition is beginning to thin out,” Adams said.

Thirty-year fixed interest rates currently sit just over 5.5 percent, up from this time last year when interest rates sat below 3 percent. Adams said this means buyers can afford to borrow less. The price points on homes may lower because of these conditions and offer less competition for buyers.

“Less competing offers means that properties are less likely to sell for significantly over asking price,” Adams said. “With this into consideration, some buyers are already seeing better results.”

Although Adams says some buyers are beginning to see some relief, nobody is sure when the market will shift back from the state it has been in during the recession.

Paterno said he thinks it will happen, but he doesn’t know when.

“It’s normal for prices to fluctuate, but in the last two years it has been different,” Paterno said.