Iowa’s capital combines small town charm with big city convenience
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Des Moines is the capital of and largest city in the state of Iowa, located in its geographical center about halfway between Omaha and Iowa City. The capital of the U.S. insurance industry, Des Moines is a thriving place that regularly ranks as one of the top cities in terms of affordability and quality of life. This mid-sized city attracts newcomers from all over the country who want a home that retains its small town friendliness, but still has all of the amenities of a major metropolis.
Culture, History, and Business
Des Moines was originally founded as a fort in 1843 as part of the United States’ westward expansion. After being briefly abandoned, it was settled permanently when it was declared the capital of Polk County. Growth was limited until 1866 when a railroad was constructed, which led to a population boom. By the end of the 19th century it had become Iowa’s largest city. Over the course of the 20th century it gradually shifted from an industrial city to a white collar one.
Today, Des Moines enjoys a very robust economy. It is particularly famous for being the center of the U.S. insurance industry, and it also has thriving healthcare, technology and agribusiness sectors. This service-oriented economy has allowed Des Moines to avoid the fates of other Midwestern cities that have struggled to transition their economies away from the declining manufacturing sectors in the 20th century. Instead, Des Moines is a growing and dynamic place, and widely considered one of the best mid-sized cities in the country.
Real Estate Appeal
There is considerable real estate potential in Des Moines. Thanks to extremely low unemployment levels and high affordability, home ownership is much more attainable here than it is in many other large cities. A large student population also ensures that there is steady demand for rental properties, and Des Moines attracts a decent number of business travelers and tourists to make it a good choice for short-term rental properties.
Real estate investors enjoy healthy returns on their investments, favorable laws and regulations and low taxes. While Des Moines has a very high quality of life, property prices are well below the national average, making the market here particularly attractive to those who have been priced out of larger cities. Investment in the city’s central neighborhoods is also leading to an increased demand for apartments and condos, especially from young professionals who are flocking to the city in search of good jobs.
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