10 Reasons We Love Buying Land in Iowa

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10 Reasons We Love Buying Land in Iowa

Bart Waldon

Iowa is known as the "Heartland of America" thanks to its rolling fields of corn and soybeans that stretch as far as the eye can see. As a leading agricultural state, Iowa has rich, fertile soil perfect for farming. Beyond agriculture, Iowa offers low cost of living, safe and affordable communities, a wealth of natural beauty and an atmosphere of warm Midwestern hospitality. These assets and more make Iowa a top destination for people looking to buy land.

Over the years, many land professionals based in Iowa have helped facilitate hundreds of transactions for people purchasing or investing in Iowa land parcels. As experienced brokers in the Iowa land market, they have seen firsthand the many reasons homesteaders, farmers, land investors and outdoors enthusiasts are increasingly choosing to buy land in the Hawkeye State. The fertile soil, abundance of natural resources, stable economy and overall high quality of life are major factors that make buying Iowa land an appealing investment for many buyers.

10 Reasons People Love Buying Land in Iowa

1. Rich, Fertile Farmland

Iowa sits upon some of the most agriculturally productive soil in the world. The state’s rolling terrain of dark, nutrient-dense topsoil enables high crop yields year after year. For farmers, hobby gardeners or anyone who enjoys working the land, Iowa’s prime farmland offers incredible opportunity to cultivate healthy, bountiful crops. Land buyers recognize the value of planting their roots in Iowa’s fertile ground. They understand the old agricultural mantra that “Iowa soil is second to none.”

Beyond rich fertile soil, Iowa’s land supports a thriving agricultural economy. Cash receipts from livestock, grain crops and horticultural produce combined total over $30 billion annually. Iowa ranks #1 nationwide for production of corn, soybeans, pork and eggs - supplying food and feedstock globally. Agriculture drives Iowa’s culture, identity and economy. For many buyers, owning Iowa land grants them stake in the fertile fields feeding the world.

2. Abundant Natural Resources

Iowa's landscape holds bountiful natural resources for land owners to enjoy. Over 800 lakes dot the countryside, brimming with fish and ringed by scenic state parks. Canoeing and kayaking along miles of lazy rivers weaving through timbered bluffs provides fun recreation. Robust wildlife populations give hunting opportunities for duck, deer and pheasant across the state’s fields and forests.

Iowa contains over 4 million acres of woodland acreage spanning oaks, hickories, aspens and other timber. For buyers wanting wooded privacy, ample forest resources allow seclusion. Yet tillable acreage typically borders timber, so properties give owners the best of both worlds. They enjoy timber harvest income from mature stands while cropland or pasture generate additional annual returns from the same land holding.

3. Low Cost of Living

Iowa is repeatedly ranked one of the most affordable places to live in the U.S. Housing costs are far below the national average both for renters and homeowners. Iowa’s overall low cost of living means land buyers can get more property for less money compared to other states.

For example, the median home price in Iowa falls under $170,000 -- significantly lower than the $320,000 national benchmark. Average rents outside main hubs like Des Moines and Iowa City ring in well below $1,000 per month. That’s often hundreds less than what renters pay in other parts of the country.

Between affordable real estate and competitively-priced goods and services, buyers’ dollars stretch at least 14% further when purchasing property in Iowa compared to other states. The bargain prices let investors snap up larger parcels while homesteaders gain wiggle room for property improvements. Iowa’s overall value and affordability create prime conditions for buyers to maximize returns on their land purchase.

4. Safe, Family-Friendly Communities

Low crime rates and family-oriented neighborhoods make Iowa a safe, wholesome environment to put down roots. Many cities across Iowa routinely rank among the top safest places to live nationwide. Buyers appreciate the peace of mind that comes with knowing their investment and loved ones will be secure.

Outside of bigger cities, small town charm and community prevail across Iowa’s countryside. Locals display Midwestern hospitality to newcomers. Residents in rural areas still wave when passing one another on country gravel roads. The slower way of country living fosters tighter social connection where neighbors lend a helping hand when needs arise.

For families, Iowa offers plenty of kid-friendly attractions like county fairs, festivals and amusement parks during the warm months. When winter hits, families take to the frozen lakes and rivers ice skating, sledding or snowmobiling across the white countryside together. The wholesome outdoor lifestyle builds lasting memories across the seasons.

5. Central Location

Situated in the heart of the Midwest, Iowa serves as a hub that connects both coasts. Major railway lines like Union Pacific and Burlington Northern Santa Fe cross Iowa, carrying freight and commodities nationwide. Interstate 35 and Interstate 80 providing speedy auto access also run through the state.

Iowa’s central location gives land owners quick access to metropolitan hubs like nearby Omaha, Minneapolis, Kansas City and Chicago by car or passenger rail. At the same time, rural acreage allows privacy and elbow room. This blend makes Iowa real estate attractive for both lifestyle and investment. Should owners ever need to relocate for new jobs or family reasons down the road, proximity to other Midwestern cities provides flexibility.

6. Four Distinct Seasons

While Iowa sees hot summers and cold winters, Mother Nature paints breathtaking scenes across the seasons. Spring comes alive with wildflowers scattered across rolling hills while fall foliage dazzles in vibrant hues of crimson and gold.

The seasonal changes provide natural beauty and plenty of variety for outdoor recreation - from snowmobiling and ice fishing to boating and hiking. Hearty Iowans don their snow boots and parkas in winter to tromp through freshly fallen snow. Then they joyfully switch to shorts when balmy spring weather arrives, eager to work the newly thawed soil.

The dynamic seasons let land owners actively experience Iowa’s diverse landscapes across the year. Seasonal changes also impact recreational opportunities on one’s acreage.

7. No Natural Disasters

Compared to hurricane-prone coasts and earthquake zones out West, Iowa offers shelter from extreme weather events. The state’s inland location shields it from brunt of coastal storms marching inland from Atlantic and Gulf waters. Low risk of most natural disasters gives land buyers added peace of mind that their property will stand the test of time.

Outside of occasional floods or tornadoes, owners can rest easy knowing their assets and livelihood face fewer threats from Mother Nature’s whims. They worry less about massive cleanup bills or rebuilding costs after destructive hurricanes, fires or quakes. While Iowans must brace for blizzards or summer derecho winds on rare occasions, acres of flattened corn fields can be swiftly replanted and life soon returns to normal.

8. Strong Economy

A stable, diversified economy helps preserve Iowa land values over the long run while keeping unemployment low. Agriculture, advanced manufacturing, information technology and healthcare are major statewide employers. Facebook, Microsoft, Google and IBM all operate data centers across Iowa. Renewable energy like wind and biofuels are also growing industries, bringing construction and maintenance jobs.

The economic stability provides a nurturing backdrop that allows small businesses, entrepreneurs and real estate investments alike to take root and thrive over time. Farmland especially holds it value better thanks to Iowa’s crop-focused economy. Since agriculture drives land demand in Iowa, properties typically sell faster with less price cuts compared to recreational markets out West where land is viewed more as a luxury.

9. Tax Incentives

To spur development, Iowa offers new land buyers various tax breaks and incentives. Many municipalities grant multi-year property tax abatements to jumpstart construction on vacant plots through programs like TIF financing. These perks allow owners to make land improvements while paying little to no taxes until projects are completed and producing income.

Iowa also created over 80 designated Opportunity Zones that provide sizable capital gains tax reductions to encourage real estate projects. Investors who sell existing property and reinvest gains into OZ areas get major tax relief that stretches their investment dollars. Between local and federal perks, the tax benefits help stretch investors’ capital further to maximize returns when buying Iowa land.

10. Overall High Quality of Life

At the end of the day, land represents more than dirt and dollars - it ties back to lifestyle, heritage and community. Iowa ranks among the top U.S. states for overall quality of life thanks to friendly residents, shorter commutes, lower stress and better work-life balance.

The peaceful way of country living, slower pace and wholesome Midwestern values preserve Iowa’s heartland roots. Neighbors still smile, wave and stop to chat instead of growing guarded like big cities. The tighter community knits a social fabric where people look out for one another.

For many buyers, owning a piece of the Hawkeye State grants them belonging to something greater. Land ownership allows them to actively contribute to Iowa’s heritage of hardy folks carving out a living working the rich soil together. Buyers become part of the storyline etched into Iowa’s rolling landscape - one filled with promise, bounty and neighborly pride.

Final Thoughts

With fertile farmland, plentiful natural beauty, affordability and warmth, it comes as no surprise why land ownership holds special appeal in Iowa. The state’s landscape tells story of strength, resilience and bounty that touches the soul. Beyond dollars, buying property in Iowa represents buying into the promise of possibilities rooted in rich Midwestern soil.

Over the years, passionate land professionals have assisted hundreds of buyers write their own stories across the Iowa countryside. As the reasons to love owning Iowa land continue growing as strong as the state’s staple corn crops, more investors and homesteaders discover property that speaks to their heart and pocketbook alike.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What types of land are most available for purchase in Iowa? 

The most common types of land for sale in Iowa include farmland, timberland, recreational land, vacant plots, and sites for commercial development. Over 30 million acres of Iowa’s land area is devoted to agriculture.

Does Iowa land maintain its property value over time? 

Yes, land in Iowa typically holds its value very well compared to other markets. Thanks to Iowa's stable agricultural economy and increasing crop yields, farmland values continue appreciating over the long run.

What natural features or outdoor recreation does Iowa land offer? 

Iowa's landscape provides over 800 lakes, woodlands with timber harvest opportunities, fertile soil for gardening, rolling prairies, meandering rivers, and an abundance of wildlife for hunting and fishing. Outdoor lovers enjoy hiking, boating, snowmobiling and more.

Is financing readily available to buy Iowa land? 

Yes, various financing options exist for buyers wanting to purchase Iowa land. Local lenders provide loans for farmland, timberland and building sites. Creative seller-financing deals are also common, where the seller holds a contract for deed.

Does Iowa offer any tax incentives when purchasing land as an investment? 

Yes, Iowa provides a number of property tax incentives and credits that allow land buyers to reduce their tax burden when investing in development sites or improving land parcels. Local governments also offer temporary property tax abatements through TIF districts and enterprise zones.

About The Author

Bart Waldon

Bart, co-founder of Land Boss with wife Dallas Waldon, boasts over half a decade in real estate. With 100+ successful land transactions nationwide, his expertise and hands-on approach solidify Land Boss as a leading player in land investment.


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