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Housing Demand High in Iowa City

IOWA CITY, Iowa (CBS2/FOX28) -- It is a seller's market in Iowa City and Coralville this spring, where consumers are buying homes at a breakneck pace, said Blank & McCune real estate agent Adam Pretorius.

Consistently low interest rates are to thank, Pretorius said.

"This is really attractive to buyers, who normally would have to own a home for four to five years to even break even or pay it off, now can own a home in two to three years," Pretorius said.

Ben Clark and his wife found just that when they started looking for a house. The Clarks are moving back to Iowa City from Des Moines, and bought their house in just three days.

"We made our decision to buy our house in a really quick manner just because we had seen a lot of houses and we knew there was a short supply of houses that we liked and that fit all the needs that we had," Clark said.

But the area is barely keeping up with demand -- so much so that construction companies are putting up new homes as quickly as possible. The number of new building permits is up this year as compared to last year, particularly in condominiums and multi-unit buildings. That is a big boost to the local economy, Pretorius said.

"It's great to know there's a lot of demand, a lot of buyers coming to this area," Pretorius said.

And while the Clarks won't move to the area until June, they're just happy to have a place they call home.

"The only things we have left to do is pick out a daycare and my wife needs to find a job," Clark said. "So, we're excited."

Pretorius suggests that buyers have their real estate agent get them into email chains for active searches, and says they should be ready to say yes to a house they want very quickly. Otherwise, the house could easily go to someone else.

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