Department of Numbers

Polk County Iowa Residential Rent and Rental Statistics

The median monthly gross residential rent in Polk County IA was $879 in 2017 according to the Census ACS survey.1 Average gross rent in Polk County was $916 in 2017. The median rent more accurately depicts rental rates in the middle of the distribution of rents and is thus preferred in the analysis below. 2018 Polk County median and average rent data will be released in September of 2019.

Data is also available below for Polk County rental vacancy rates, Polk County rent as a percent of median income and the fraction of renters in Polk County.

Show dollars as: Nominal Real

Real Gross Rent in Polk County Iowa (2017 dollars)2

2017 1 Year Change 3 Year Change
US Median Gross Rent $1,012 +1.61% +5.86%
Iowa Median Gross Rent $760 +0.93% +4.40%
Polk County IA Median Gross Rent $879 +1.85% +5.40%

Polk County IA Real Gross Rent Trends

At $879, real median gross rent in Polk County was at its highest level in 2017 since the series began in 2005. At $916, real average gross rent in Polk County was at its highest level in 2017 since the series began in 2005.

Real Gross Rent: Polk County IA Median, Polk County IA Average, Iowa Median, US Median

Lower quartile, median and upper quartile real gross rent

Real Gross Rent History for Polk County

Date US
Median
Iowa
Median
Polk County IA
Median
Polk County IA
Average
2017 $1,012 $760 $879 $916
2016 $996 $753 $863 $903
2015 $987 $739 $848 $899
2014 $956 $728 $834 $864
2013 $924 $693 $805 $840
2012 $912 $682 $792 $804
2011 $912 $674 $775 $806
2010 $927 $682 $792 $826
2009 $931 $675 $797 $812
2008 $947 $697 $801 $833
2007 $899 $646 $771 $785
2006 $909 $695 $813 $832

Polk County Rental Vacancy Rate

The rental vacancy rate is the fraction of homes for rent that are not occupied.3 In 2017 the rental vacancy rate for Polk County Iowa was 6.45% according to Census ACS data.

Rental Vacancy Rate in Polk County Iowa

2017 1 Year Change 3 Year Change
US 6.18% +0.29% -0.14%
Iowa 7.31% +1.07% +1.84%
Polk County IA 6.45% +0.42% +1.93%

Trends in Polk County IA Rental Vacancy Rate

The rental vacancy rate in Polk County peaked in 2007 at 10.27%. Since then it has fallen by 3.82% to 6.45%. Data records for this series originated in 2005. From a 2013 post peak low of 2.99%, the rental vacancy rate has increased by 3.46%.

Rental Vacancy Rate: Polk County IA, Iowa, US

Rental vacancy rate in Iowa

Historical Rental Vacancy Rate data for Polk County

Date US Iowa Polk County IA
2017 6.18% 7.31% 6.45%
2016 5.89% 6.24% 6.03%
2015 5.85% 6.41% 6.54%
2014 6.32% 5.47% 4.52%
2013 6.49% 6.03% 2.99%
2012 6.77% 6.77% 3.39%
2011 7.40% 6.64% 6.68%
2010 8.17% 6.38% 4.77%
2009 8.43% 5.97% 5.54%
2008 7.86% 6.80% 5.37%
2007 7.87% 7.54% 10.27%
2006 7.70% 6.28% 3.20%

Rent as a Fraction of Income

Using median household income data for Polk County, we can calculate the fraction of income the median household would use to pay rent at the median monthly gross rent rate. For Polk County, median monthly gross rent as a fraction of median household income was 15.98% in 2017 according to the ACS.

Polk County Iowa Median Annual Rent as a Fraction of Median Household Income

2017 1 Year Change 3 Year Change
US 20.13% -0.30% -0.76%
Iowa 15.57% -0.24% -0.31%
Polk County IA 15.98% +0.06% -0.06%

Trends in Polk County IA Rent as a Fraction of Income

The fraction of median Polk County household income required to pay median monthly gross rent peaked in 2015 (relative to the 2005 series origin) at 16.43%. Since then it has fallen by 0.45% to 15.98%.

Fraction of Income towards Rent: Polk County IA, Iowa, US

Percent of median household income going towards median monthly gross rent in Polk County Iowa

Historical Data for Annual Rent as a Fraction of Income in Polk County Iowa

Date US Iowa Polk County IA
2017 20.13% 15.57% 15.98%
2016 20.43% 15.81% 15.92%
2015 20.63% 15.74% 16.43%
2014 20.89% 15.88% 16.04%
2013 20.78% 15.60% 15.94%
2012 20.65% 15.57% 15.93%
2011 20.70% 15.61% 15.91%
2010 20.50% 15.74% 16.28%
2009 20.12% 15.26% 15.80%
2008 19.00% 14.87% 14.70%
2007 18.66% 14.39% 15.00%
2006 18.90% 15.75% 15.64%

Renter Fraction in Polk County Iowa

You can calculate the renter fraction in Polk County in at least two ways: by housing units or by population. I've gone with the housing units measure here. This measure looks at the number of renting households in Polk County as a fraction of total Polk County households. In 2017 32.04% of households were renters according to Census ACS data.

Polk County Fraction of Renters by Household Units

2017 1 Year Change 3 Year Change
US 36.13% -0.75% -0.77%
Iowa 28.40% -0.97% -0.73%
Polk County IA 32.04% -0.93% -1.85%

Trends in the Polk County IA Renter Fraction

The Polk County household renter fraction peaked in in 2015 at 34.68% and is now 2.64% below that level. The origin year for the series is 2005.

Fraction of Renting Households: Polk County IA, Iowa, US

Fraction of renters in Polk County

History of Polk County Renter Fraction

Date US Iowa Polk County IA
2017 36.13% 28.40% 32.04%
2016 36.88% 29.37% 32.97%
2015 36.97% 29.33% 34.68%
2014 36.90% 29.13% 33.89%
2013 36.50% 29.19% 33.02%
2012 36.09% 28.07% 30.79%
2011 35.42% 27.65% 30.70%
2010 34.65% 27.64% 30.27%
2009 34.13% 27.92% 31.81%
2008 33.36% 27.11% 28.81%
2007 32.80% 26.31% 27.19%
2006 32.73% 26.70% 27.23%

1. Gross rent is defined as contract rent plus the estimated average monthly cost of utilities (electricity, gas, water, and sewer) and fuel (oil, coal, kerosene, wood, etc.). Because some rentals include utilities and others don't, gross rent is a way of normalizing the variability.

2. Real dollars are calculated using the CPI-U less shelter series.

3. The rental vacancy rate is computed by dividing the number of vacant units for rent by the sum of the renter-occupied units, vacant units that are for rent, and vacant units that have been rented but not yet occupied.