U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Covid-19 Information Page
Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Iowa
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 02-02-2008, 11:30 AM
 
2 posts, read 12,023 times
Reputation: 10

Advertisements

Greetings all,

My husband and I are considering relocating to either Cedar Rapids or Iowa City from Texas for a teaching position at the University of Iowa. I’ve read several posts about the pros and cons about both cities (overall seems to be a pro-Iowa City forum though). My question revolves around the cost of living in the area (not the only consideration, but for the purpose of asking it on this forum I’d like to keep it at that); it does sound as if it is significantly more expensive to live in or around the Iowa City area than Cedar Rapids; I’m interested in finding out how much more expensive. Obviously college towns, albeit liberal ones, seem to be a bit more expensive, but for two areas that seem to be in relative proximity, there is a huge difference in housing. My question specifically is, on average, what would be the cost of a 3,500-4,000 square foot house in Cedar Rapids versus a house of the same size in Iowa City? What about if we were to build? Assuming local contractors work both markets, would it make more sense to build and what are the differences in the cost of lots?

Assuming posters point me toward living in Iowa City (again, just judging from the tone of prior posts) can anybody offer any advice as to nice areas with lots for sale? What it is the five-year outlook for Iowa-city? If the move were to take longer than expected (long story but basically the offer is there if he wants it) will there still be good areas to build in for a few years to come?

This would be a long term move for us, so any advice or guidance is extremely appreciated; just getting started with the homework.Thank you.!!!
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 02-02-2008, 12:35 PM
 
196 posts, read 727,535 times
Reputation: 89
No secret Iowa City would be my choice and most people's for all the reasons you've seen listed on this board.

Anyway, here is a great site to start your research:

Zillow - Real Estate Valuations, Homes for Sale, Free Real Estate Information
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-02-2008, 03:00 PM
 
Location: New York City
2,814 posts, read 6,241,602 times
Reputation: 3168
Personally, I would move to the place that offers the most in terms of beauty, amenities, educated people, great schools, etc. If one costs a bit more, I would consider building or buying a smaller home, unless you have a huge family where it's not an option to have a smaller home.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-02-2008, 05:15 PM
 
Location: Chariton, Iowa
681 posts, read 2,835,231 times
Reputation: 446
This is gonna be a long post, but you asked a lot of questions!

I've lived in Iowa City for a few years now (coming from a different part of Iowa) and I've yet to figure out why thing are more expensive here than anywhere else (i.e. gas, food, ect.) I rent, so I can't speak about taxes, but I've heard Iowa City's are quite high. However, I know that pays off in good police, fire, streets, bus and library service.

Personally, if I were in your shoes, I would not want to live in Cedar Rapids. CR is all right, but if you're husband (or yourself) are getting a position with the UI, it would be better I think if you lived in Iowa City. It would make it much easier to get involved with the UI and all the different things they put on and really become a part of the community. (The commute is a hassle too, I hear.) You might have to settle for a bit smaller house, especially the closer to IC proper you are...but it's absolutely worth it.

If you're going to buy, you might want to look in and around North Liberty, for starters. It's the 5th or 6th fastest growing city in Iowa, going from around 5k in 2000 to around 7k in 2004 and probably around 10k as of now. (According to Wikipedia, it was 190 when the town was founded in 1913!) Lots of new development going on in that area. Also, I think their taxes would be much cheaper than IC.

If you want to build, look in the triangle formed by Hwy. 1, Solon and North Liberty. There are a lot of big houses being built on the large, woody lots in that area--that's where a lot of the UI bigwigs are building. Plus it's right by the lake, with some houses being pretty much lakeside (or riverside). Again...unincorporated area, so probably only county taxes.

I imagine in all but the absolute worst-case-scenarios that houses or lots in this area would go up in value every year. It's not Nevada style growth, but it's pretty good "recession proof" slow growth. Parts of the area are getting built up pretty quickly, but I imagine there'd still be good lots 5 years out. But they're certainly not going to get any cheaper. Buy or build...I think that'd just be a matter of personal choice.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-02-2008, 05:45 PM
 
Location: in the general vicinity of Cedar Rapids, Iowa
296 posts, read 1,194,346 times
Reputation: 184
Quote:
Originally Posted by SharpHawkeye View Post
Personally, if I were in your shoes, I would not want to live in Cedar Rapids. CR is all right, but if you're husband (or yourself) are getting a position with the UI, it would be better I think if you lived in Iowa City. It would make it much easier to get involved with the UI and all the different things they put on and really become a part of the community. (The commute is a hassle too, I hear.) You might have to settle for a bit smaller house, especially the closer to IC proper you are...but it's absolutely worth it.
I have lived in both Iowa City and Cedar Rapids, and I don't think anyone on this forum is a bigger proponent of Cedar Rapids than I am. That being said, I agree with SharpHawkeye -- why spend twice as long driving to and from work as you would by living close to work? I just think life is too short to commute, for all the reasons SharpHawkeye outlined. You can make special "dates" to visit some of the great restaurants in Cedar Rapids and the surrounding areas, and to attend events like the spectacular Winter Garden Fair that the Linn County Master Gardeners hosted at Kirkwood Community College today.

Cedar Rapids is quite competitive in terms of property and new house prices... I don't think you'll pay appreciably more in Iowa City. I, personally, wouldn't want to be part of the cookie cutter fast growth that is occurring in North Liberty, itself, although I imagine there are some (maybe? It is getting SO built up!) woodsy larger lots between North Liberty and Iowa City that would be okay. The only challenge I see for you is finding a place to live until a home could be built -- rentals can be pretty tight in both cities and you may end up in someplace that you'll, er, really be glad to get out of when the house is up! The problem there is that it means you tend to rush the building decisions, which can hurt in the long run, i.e. not fully exploring all possible neighborhoods/areas before buying a lot. I think we looked for land for two years before we found our spot, and when I think about some of the mistakes we almost made... whoa, Nellie!

Good luck with your move and welcome to Iowa!
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-02-2008, 06:49 PM
 
2 posts, read 12,023 times
Reputation: 10
Default Differences between Xavier and Regina?

Thanks to all for the insightful replies. It is sincerely appreciated. I'd love to hear from anybody else who can offer advice.

One additional question and perhaps it's another topic altogether. While I'm fully aware of the quality of the Iowa public school system, we are interested in enrolling our three kids in a catholic education system. Having some friends and aquaintences in the area, we are vaguely familiar with the Cedar Rapids and Iowa City catholic schools. While Iowa City sounds as if it would be a wonderful place to continue raising our family, from what I have heard I am slightly concerned that Regina High School, for lack of a better term, can't hold a candle to the facilities, resources, athletics, community influence and teachers (though I've heard Regina has some great teachers as well) that Xavier can. These are things that also need to factor into our decision on where to live. Looking at a map it doesn't seem feasable to live in Iowa City and commute the children to Xavier for school. Can anybody offer and comments on comparing the two schools?

BTW, no need to point out the perceived contradiction of sending kids to a catholic school in a liberal environment; we think there's value in both.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-02-2008, 08:33 PM
 
Location: in the general vicinity of Cedar Rapids, Iowa
296 posts, read 1,194,346 times
Reputation: 184
Well, that puts a different perspective on things. I think that what you are hearing from your contacts in the area is valid. The thing is that Xavier is all brand new, and so well funded... From what I hear (I do not have children who went to school at either place), Regina is great, just, as you say, not stellar. Do you have the opportunity to visit the two schools sometime on a trip to the area? I am sure both would welcome you to do so. I think that would make the decision very easy for you.

So, forget what I said -- the commute isn't bad, really! ;-) Look at the Sattler developments over toward the Xavier area, by Seminole Valley, etc.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-03-2008, 12:05 AM
 
11,288 posts, read 23,416,163 times
Reputation: 11190
I grew up for 22 years between Iowa City and Cedar Rapids, closer to Iowa City though.

As far as the culture and experience of living among unique Iowans, I'd hands down choose Iowa City.

I'm not catholic, but I know Regina has a worse reputation compared to Xavier. It's hard for Regina to be compared though since Xavier is so new. The public schools in Iowa City have been known to be some of the best around though. I think Regina's problem isn't as much that it's a bad school, but it really has to compete against the public schools. Iowa City is very obsessed with education.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-05-2008, 06:39 PM
 
1 posts, read 5,952 times
Reputation: 10
Default Beware Iowa City

I lived in Dallas (Lakewood neighborhood) for 19 years, Houston (West University) for 5 years and Iowa City for 7 years (mid-70's and mid-90's). I currently live in Des Moines.

Iowa City is a great place except for one thing: the real estate market. Almost all real estate developers in Iowa City are either crooks or unsophisticated rubes. At the very least, they will cut every corner possible in building your home. All you have to do is tour some of the new construction in the area to confirm this.

In the mid-90's I worked with a guy at the U of I who had hired a local contractor to build a custom home. The contractor failed to pay the subcontractors who then filed liens on the house. The buyer sued the contractor and won but the contractor had put everything in his wife's name so there were no assets to go after. The buyer had no choice but to pay off the subcontractors, basically paying for everything twice.

There is a whole tribe of local handyman types in Iowa City who specialize in "updating" some of the less expensive vintage housing in the area. They rip out original kitchens, baths and fixtures and replace them with cheap off-the-shelf crap from Menards. Most of these yokels have never been out of the state. They have no idea what kind of housing exists in markets like Texas and California.

There is only one neighborhood in Iowa City worth buying in and I'm not going to tell you what it is because I'm hoping to buy there myself! Other than that I hope this response is helpful.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-06-2008, 12:27 PM
 
Location: Cedar Rapids, Iowa
1,671 posts, read 2,397,773 times
Reputation: 2951
I have lived in Cedar Rapids the past 13 years, coming from southern California. I work at the University and while Iowa City has a lot to offer I prefer Cedar Rapids. Iowa City just seems much more "closed in" to me. There are many very nice areas to live in Cedar Rapids, and also just south of Cedar Rapids, in Shueyville (sp?) or Mount Vernon areas. The housing areas around Xavier are also extremely nice. The price difference between CR and IC is about $30,000- $40,000 difference for same price house. I would recommend a visit out here and decide for yourself. Everyone has their own preferences. Best of luck to you!
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:


Settings
X
Data:
Loading data...
Based on 2000-2020 data
Loading data...

123
Hide US histogram

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Iowa
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 12:06 PM.

© 2005-2020, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Contact Us - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37 - Top