Des Moines metro home sales dip for third straight month, latest Realtors' report shows

For the third straight month, home sales in Des Moines, pummeled by rising interest rates, dropped by more than one-fifth year over year, according to the latest figures released by the Des Moines Area Association of Realtors.

In February, 695 homes were sold in the Des Moines metro, a decrease of 21% from the 882 sold in February 2022. At least the drop wasn't as severe as January's year-over-year decrease of 38.6% and December's 33%.

Median home sale price falls

The median home sales price fell to $245,000, a decrease of 4% from January, which in turn had risen 2% from December. The February median sale price nevertheless was $10,000 higher than a year earlier, according to the Realtors' figures.

A home under construction near Waukee High School.
A home under construction near Waukee High School.

Spring sales surge coming?

In a news release, Kim Bakey, Des Moines Area Association of Realtors president, was upbeat about the outlook with the onset of spring. February's sales were up 16% from January's, and March and April generally tally even stronger upticks.

"Buyers are out there making good offers and they are being accepted, keeping both sales and pending sales steady," Bakey said. "We anticipate this trend to continue as the weather warms and more residents begin spring shopping.”

Slight decline seen in interest rates

Another potential reason for optimism: On March 16, mortgage rates fell for the first time in five weeks, according to Freddie Mac. The average 30-year fixed-rate-mortgage had an interest rate of 6.6%, down from 6.73% a week earlier. The peak since interest rates began their sharp rise at the end of 2021 was 7.08% in November.

Local figures mirror those for nation

Nationwide, February home sales fell 22.6% from a year earlier, according to the National Association of Realtors, though sales increased nationwide by 14.5% from January to February ― both figures in line with those for the Des Moines metro. Lawrence Yun, National Association of Realtors chief economist, said in a news release that buyers conscious of rising mortgage rates are taking advantage of any slight declines.

"We're seeing stronger sales gains in areas where home prices are decreasing and the local economies are adding jobs," Yun said in the release.

Philip Joens covers retail, real estate and RAGBRAI for the Des Moines Register. He can be reached at 515-284-8184, or on Twitter @Philip_Joens.

This article originally appeared on Des Moines Register: For third consecurive month, Des Moines metro home sales decline