The Best Cities in Iowa for First-Time Home Buyers

Iowa, known as the Hawkeye State, offers a blend of urban living, sprawling farmland, and a rich history that makes it a unique place to call home. For those looking to plant their roots in this Midwestern state, there are several cities that stand out as especially inviting for first-time home buyers. Based on affordability, quality of life, job opportunities, and community amenities, here are some of the best cities in Iowa for those looking to purchase their first home:

  1. Des Moines
    • Pros: As the state capital and the largest city in Iowa, Des Moines offers a plethora of job opportunities, especially in finance, insurance, and healthcare. The city is also home to vibrant cultural scenes with numerous theaters, arts centers, and music festivals.
    • Cons: With growth and development, traffic can sometimes become an issue, especially during peak hours.
  2. Ames
    • Pros: Home to Iowa State University, Ames boasts a young, vibrant population. The city is also known for its excellent public schools and lower crime rates.
    • Cons: Being a college town, some neighborhoods may be noisier, especially during major university events.
  3. Cedar Rapids
    • Pros: Known as the “City of Five Seasons,” Cedar Rapids offers a mix of urban and suburban feel. With its thriving arts scene, numerous parks, and strong local economy, the city offers a good balance for families and professionals.
    • Cons: Some parts of the city have faced challenges with flooding in the past, so it’s essential to research neighborhoods thoroughly.
  4. Iowa City
    • Pros: Home to the University of Iowa, this city offers a mix of academic culture and a bustling downtown. Iowa City frequently ranks high for its healthcare facilities and is known for its literary heritage, being a UNESCO City of Literature.
    • Cons: Like Ames, the college-town vibe might not be for everyone, especially those looking for a quieter environment.
  5. Davenport
    • Pros: Part of the Quad Cities (along with Bettendorf, and the Illinois cities of Moline and Rock Island), Davenport has a rich history, beautiful riverfront, and numerous cultural attractions.
    • Cons: Some areas in Davenport face challenges related to aging infrastructure.
  6. West Des Moines
    • Pros: This suburb of Des Moines offers a slightly more relaxed atmosphere while still being close to the amenities of a larger city. With its upscale shopping centers, parks, and strong school districts, it’s an attractive option for families.
    • Cons: Real estate prices can be slightly higher here compared to some other cities on the list.
  7. Ankeny
    • Pros: One of the fastest-growing cities in Iowa, Ankeny is known for its quality schools and family-friendly environment. Its proximity to Des Moines offers the best of both worlds: a small-town feel with big-city amenities.
    • Cons: The rapid growth means that some areas are experiencing construction and development-related disruptions.

Things to Consider: Before settling on a city, first-time homebuyers should think about their priorities. Are schools a primary concern? Is proximity to work essential? Are cultural activities or outdoor recreational opportunities vital? By determining what’s most important, prospective buyers can find the best fit for their needs.

Conclusion: Iowa offers a diverse range of cities catering to different tastes and lifestyles. Whether you’re seeking the bustling vibe of a larger city, the academic environment of a college town, or the peacefulness of a suburb, the Hawkeye State has a place for every first-time homebuyer. It’s no wonder that so many people are finding their first homes in this welcoming Midwestern state. Get a pre-approval to shop for an Iowa home by clicking the apply now button below.

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