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5 houses in Des Moines, Iowa, where winters are tough but there's plenty of parking

This five-bedroom, two-bath house was built in 1915 and has been fully remodeled.


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About 46 percent of New Yorkers own cars, according to census data, which means a significant chunk of the city's residents are either fighting one another for a coveted (and rare!) street parking spot, or shelling out hard-earned dollars on a pricey garage. Plus, there's that fun little thing called alternate side parking that has my car-owning roommate looking for a new spot at 7 a.m. every Wednesday.

So if you're a car owner and sick of spending half your lifetime circling around the block looking for a spot, consider Des Moines, Iowa. Why? Because it's a city with 1.6 million parking spots for its mere 217,521 residents, about seven parking spots for each person, making it the most parking spot-rich city in the nation, according to the Des Moines Register.

Des Moines also has beautiful summers (winters are rough, but the summers are glorious) a burgeoning restaurant scene, lots of safe cycling, great dive bars, a slew of tech start-ups, and plenty of friendly residents. And while Des Moines, like so many other cities in the U.S., is starting to struggle with a growing income gap, housing here is much more affordable than in NYC, with the median listing price of only $145,000. If that sounds appealing to you, here's a taste of what's out there.


1310 46th St., Waveland Park

This five-bedroom, two-bath house, also pictured above, features oak detailing, dark wood flooring, exposed wood beams, and a fireplace with an original oak mantle. Other highlights include a window-filled dining room, stainless steel kitchen appliances, and lots of outdoor space, including a two-level treated wood deck, a backyard, and a three-season front porch. The house is located in Waveland Park, a centrally-located neighborhood that has good schools and young families. It is priced at $265,000.

Iowa Realty

400 East Locust St., Unit 217, East Village

Des Moines has its own East Village, and it's a teeny bit like ours, featuring quirky boutiques and stores, hip restaurants, and dive bars, in addition to new and remodeled condo developments popping up all over the neighborhood. This two-bedroom, two-bath condo is one such offering, located in a building built in 2005. Highlights include stainless steel appliances, new cabinetry, a terrace, and an expansive shared courtyard. The unit is located by popular eateries like Zombie Burger & Drink Lab and the Iowa Taproom. It is priced at $239,900.

Iowa Realty

204 East Caulder Cir., South Side

Des Moines's South Side is a bit more up-and-coming than some of the other neighborhoods featured here, but if you're looking for an affordable investment property, there are a lot of solid deals in the area. This three-bedroom, three-bath house in South Park is one such deal, featuring a brick fireplace, a cozy eat-in kitchen, a large living room with a vaulted ceiling, and a massive backyard with a deck. It is priced at $194,900.

Exit Realty

820 45th St., West Des Moines

West Des Moines is actually a separate city from Des Moines proper, but it's a good spot for commuters looking for a slightly more suburban experience than the one you'd find in town. For instance, this four-bedroom, three-bath brick house features two living rooms, a cozy formal dining room (in addition to a large eat-in kitchen), a multi-season porch, and a huge a deck, in addition to fun details like front columns and a brick fireplace. It is priced at $249,900.

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices First Realty

5001 Country Club Blvd., Waterbury

For fancier digs, consider this 3,989 square foot four-bedroom, four-bath behemoth, located in Des Moines's Waterbury neighborhood. The spacious house includes a light-filled solarium, a beautiful wood-paneled dining room, a fireplace, an enclosed porch, an expansive modernist master bath, a big backyard, and a truly impressive collection of bespoke shelving. The neighborhood itself is about a 10-minute drive from downtown. It is priced at $610,000.