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Inside the U.S. News Ranking: Iowa Makes Home Ownership Possible (Part 2)

July 9, 2018

Inside the U.S. News Ranking: Iowa Makes Home Ownership Possible (Part 2)

Iowa is the top state in the country according to U.S. News & World Report. This series of three articles will explain why Iowa won the title of “Best State.”

  • Part 1: Education
  • Part 2: Opportunity
  • Part 3: Infrastructure and other highlights

It’s easier in Iowa than in most of the country to accomplish a common American dream – buying a home. It’s a top reason Iowa earned the title of “Best State” in 2018 from U.S. News & World Report.

Renting is not something most Americans, including young people, prefer to do forever. Most American renters – 72 percent – want to eventually own a home, according to Pew Research. However, home prices are making that goal feel unattainable throughout much of the country. In Southern California, for example, the median home price in May 2018 was $520,000. Most renters in America do so because of financial reasons and not by choice, according to Pew.

U.S. News & World Report ranked Iowa second in the country in housing affordability. This ranking considered the state’s median home prices, median family incomes and mortgage rates. What this ranking means is that Iowa’s housing prices are not only low, but are low compared to Iowans’ median incomes.

Imagine purchasing a first home, or a larger home, and having more money left after making the monthly mortgage payment. Imagine the extra money and a commute less than 20 minutes – the average commute in Iowa is 19 minutes. A house, more money and more free time is an appealing proposition, and one of the reasons young people are leaving high cost areas of the country and moving to places like Iowa. Since 2010, Iowa’s capital city, Des Moines, has experienced higher rates of millennial population growth than New York City, Chicago, Boston, San Jose, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Those millennials are buying homes and starting families. For example, Ankeny, a Des Moines suburb, is the fourth-fastest growing city in the country with a population more than 50,000. Most people in Ankeny live in single-family homes, and the suburb added nearly 3,000 houses between 2010 and 2016.

Buying a home and starting a family are within reach in Iowa. Add quality schools, and suddenly the American Dream feels attainable. Iowa offers opportunity few states can match, and it’s a chief reason we earned the #1 Best State title from U.S. News & World Report. Learn more about life in Iowa at



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Iowa Economic Development Authority
200 East Grand Avenue
Des Moines, Iowa 50309
Phone: 1.515.348.6200
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