Top 5 Best Real Estate Investment Markets in Iowa

Ben Mizes


Ben Mizes

October 22nd, 2021
Updated October 22nd, 2021


Are you interested in getting started in real estate investing in Iowa, but you’re wondering where the best markets are? There are several cities that are growing and have strong rental and purchase opportunities. Discover the top five today.

Top 5 Best Real Estate Investment Markets in Iowa

Despite its reputation as being focused on farming and livestock, Iowa is an exciting state with a lot of excellent real estate investment opportunities. There’s a reason the state is listed as the #1 best state to live in by U.S. News & World Report.

With top rankings for state infrastructure, opportunity, education, and quality of life, people want to live in Iowa. That means that investors have a great opportunity to both buy and flip homes as well as purchase properties to rent for income.

Ready to get started in real estate investing but wondering where to invest? Here are the five best real estate investment markets in Iowa.

»FIND: Top Real Estate Agents in Iowa

Des Moines

The largest city in the state is a great place to invest in homes. There’s a high average income and a low price to rent ratio, meaning it’s a great place to invest in single-family rentals. Home prices are also on the rise, so your investment is likely to appreciate well.

There are also a number of universities in the area, which means you could also invest in apartments for rent with good success. Although it’s a smaller market, investors find it to be well-managed and growing.

Don’t miss out on a chance to get a big win in Des Moines!

»FIND: Top Real Estate Agents in Des Moines

Iowa City

Iowa City is well-known for the University of Iowa, high-quality medical school, and a renowned research hospital. With so many students, you can do well buying rental properties in the area.

There are also a lot of areas that are great for single-family homes. Whether you want to renovate and sell or rent a home, you can make a strong profit in Iowa City.

You’ll want to think about your target demographic. There’s a big difference between the students and the permanent residents of the city. You’ll need a different location and different marketing to reach each audience.

North Liberty

If you struggle to find profitable single-family options in Iowa City, you might try North Liberty. This area is booming and is well positioned for those who work in both Cedar Rapids and Iowa City or Coralville.

With new construction, you can buy to rent with a strong assurance that the property values will continue to climb. You may not find too many rehab homes, but you’ll have great opportunities to get rental income with appreciating property prices.

There are great schools and you are within easy Midwestern driving distance to a variety of job opportunities. North Liberty will continue to be a hotspot in the Iowa real estate market for quite some time.

Cedar Rapids

The Cedar Rapids market is very hot, and home values are increasing over time. Even better, median home prices are $159,700, while the median rent is $975. This means that you can very profitably buy and rent homes in this area.

There’s a lot of demand for homes in the area, with some analysis showing that the market could easily accommodate 1,000 more homes. If you connect with a builder, you may be able to turn this market demand into profits in your bank account.

The Cedar River puts some homes at risk, so you’ll want to take that into account if you plan to hold a property for a period of time. The last major flood was in 2008, but there has been significant flooding in specific areas recently as well.

On the other hand, flood-damaged homes can be a great opportunity for a savvy investor to repair and sell a property for a profit.

»FIND: Top Real Estate Agents in Cedar Rapids


Dubuque, located on the Mississippi River, is a market on the rise. Home values have increased 7% in the last year alone, so if you’re looking for a great place to rent and take advantage of home appreciation, this is your market.

The gap between home prices and rent isn’t as high as Cedar Rapids, but it’s still favorable. If you can find some homeowners that are struggling, you may be able to purchase their homes for a significant discount. You can then rent or sell them, depending on your goals.

Work With a Realtor For Maximum Profits

Regardless of which market you invest in, you want to make sure you have a professional who knows the area by your side. They can point out the best areas to target and help you do full discovery on your target property to avoid buying a lemon.

Whether your goal is to buy a home, renovate, and sell it, or purchase and hold a home while you rent it out over time, Iowa is a great market for you. The cities that are strongest favor the rental strategy, but both can work.

If you’re ready to get started in real estate investing in Iowa, work with a Clever Partner Agent. These experienced professionals can help you find exactly what you’re looking for.

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