Home Sales, Prices Rise in Iowa, Cedar Rapids, Fall in Iowa City

By George Ford, Reporter

In this Sept. 21, 2010 photo, a sign stands in front of a new homes for sale in a West Des Moines, Iowa, neighborhood. Sales of new homes improved last month after the worst summer in nearly five decades, but not enough to lift the struggling economy. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

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By Aaron Hepker

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Average sale prices and the number of homes sold last month rose in Cedar Rapids and the state of Iowa. But they declined in Iowa City from levels recorded in December 2011.

The Cedar Rapids Area Association of Realtors reported 320 homes sold last month, up from 289 in December 2011. The average price of a Cedar Rapids area home rose 8.9 percent, to $158,032, in December from $145,149 in the final month of 2011.

That was 0.6 percent below $158,941 recorded in December 2010.

The Cedar Rapids association did not release annual figures for home sales and average sale price.

In the Iowa City-Johnson County area last month, a total of 150 homes were sold. That was down from 165 sold in December 2011, according to the Iowa City Area Association of Realtors.

The average sale price slipped to $185,141 in December, from $199,513, in the final month of 2011.

For the year, 2,624 homes were sold in Iowa City and Johnson County, up from 2,291 in 2011. The average sale price rose to $192,702 last year from $182,078 in 2011.

Statewide, the Iowa Association of Realtors reported 2,512 homes were sold in December — that's up 0.8 percent from 2,491 homes sold in December 2011. The average sale price in December was $149,946, an increase of 11.6 percent from $134,332 in December 2011.

Thirty-three of the 44 local Realtor boards in Iowa reported increases in the median sale price in December, and 30 had increases in average sale price.

For the year, the statewide association reported that sales increased by 12 percent. There were 34,860 homes sold across Iowa in 2012, compared with 31,114 homes sold in 2011.

The average sale price also increased, jumping 5.6 percent or $7,891 from $139,773 in 2011 to $147,664 in 2012.

Don Marple, president of the Iowa Association of Realtors, acknowledged 2012 was very good for the housing market and economic improvement in Iowa.

"Last year's sales were the highest annual sales since 2007," Marple said. "Similarly the median sale price and average sale price in 2012 were the highest since we started keeping comprehensive statewide records in 2005.

"These are pretty significant indicators that the market is on the upswing. The year-end statistics give us hope for continued positive activity in 2013."

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