Polk City, Iowa is a community of about 4,300 people located 16 miles north of Des Moines. Known as the ‘City For All Seasons,’ it’s an excellent place to live if you enjoy the great outdoors and are looking for a small town feel with big city proximity. In this article, we’ll dive deeper into homes for sale in Polk City, Iowa and discuss what it’s like to live here.
Overview of the City & Neighborhoods
Incorporated in 1875, Polk City takes its name from the county in which it’s located. The city is an outdoorsman’s paradise, with ample access to biking, boating, fishing, golf and nearly any other outdoor pursuit you can think of.
At the center of town stands the historic town square, which was developed more than 100 years ago using land donated by George Beebe, one of the town’s earliest settlers. The town square’s original bandstand was constructed in 1883 and served as the inspiration for the refurbished version that currently acts as a centerpiece for the park. The square is a community gathering point and also plays host to many annual events like festivals, 5K runs, a farmer’s market and more.
Another popular destination is Saylorville Lake, a dual-purpose flood control reservoir that also serves as a recreational area. With 6,000 acres of water and 20,000 acres of green space, the lake is a natural playground for those who love biking, fishing, camping and wildlife-spotting. The lake has a full-service marina, two swimming beaches, campsites and picnic areas. There are snowmobile trails and cross-country ski paths available during the winter months.
Adjacent to Saylorville Lake is Big Creek State Park, 3,550 acre park with a smaller lake of its own. In addition to swimming and boating on the lake, the park offers disc golf, a playground, a multipurpose sports field and a model airplane control field.
Golfers in Polk City will enjoy hitting the links at the Tournament Club Of Iowa. This 18 hole, par 71 course is the only Arnold Palmer Signature Course in the state. Arnold Palmer Signature courses are known for their distinct design and high level of attention to detail. In addition to its 230 acres of golf, the club also has an on-site restaurant and event hall.
Students in Polk City, Iowa attend school in the North Polk Community School District. The district is comprised of two elementary schools, a middle school and a high school.
The graduation rate in the North Polk Community School District is about 94.7 percent, a notch up from the statewide graduation rate of 91 percent. Student achievement scores in reading and math, as well as the district’s ‘conditions for learning’ composite score, are all higher than the state average.
93 percent of students in Polk City demonstrated proficient scores in math (compared to 78 percent at the state level) while 88 percent demonstrated proficiency in reading (compared to 77 percent at the state level). About 98 percent of Polk City residents hold a high school diploma or higher.
In terms of higher education, there are 13 colleges and universities within a 50 mile radius of Polk City. This includes Drake University in Des Moines and Iowa State University about 18 miles away.
Shopping & Eating
If you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind gift or a statement piece to decorate your home, you can’t miss Polk City Arts and Marketplace. This combination art gallery/gift shop/artist studio offers original photography, paintings, jewelry, bath and body products and more, all crafted by local artisans.
For a delicious meal paired with beautiful views, grab a table at Saylorville Sandbar and Grill, which is located directly on the water at Saylorville Lake Marina. For comfort food served with a smile, head to Reising Sun Cafe, a local favorite known for their coffee drinks and irresistible baked goods. Finally, you can’t go wrong with a handcrafted pie from Papa’s Pizzeria, which has been serving up homemade pizzas to locals for more than 20 years.
When it comes to crime, it’s hard to imagine a safer community than Polk City. The city’s crime rates for violent crime (murder, rape, robbery and assault), have been nearly non-existent in the last ten years.
The property crime rate is also notably low. In the last year there were just 21 reports of property crime incidents in Polk City (which figures out to 455 per 100,000 people); this compares with a national community average of 2,362 property crime reports per 100,000 people.
One of Polk City’s most desirable features is its proximity to Des Moines and the surrounding suburban towns. The average commute time for residents is just 19 minutes; by car, you can get to downtown Des Moines in 20 minutes or nearby communities like Ankeny, Johnston and Grimes in only 10 minutes.
Des Moines Area Regional Transit offers on-call public shuttle service to and from Polk City; to use the service, riders can make a ride request in advance during the service’s operating hours.
The cost of living in Polk City, Iowa tends to fall on the higher side when compared to the national average, with housing being the biggest differentiating factor. Most residents own their homes, with a median home cost in the area of $286,300. This compares to a national median home cost of $216,200. The cost of transportation and groceries, on the other hand, are lower than national averages.
Polk City presents a positive financial return outlook for home buyers, with homes appreciating an average of 6.5 percent in value over the last ten years.
Polk City residents enjoy comparatively low taxes, with the lowest city tax of any Iowa community over 2,500 people and among the 20 lowest cities for consolidated taxes in the state.
The average rent for a two-bedroom housing unit in Polk City is $1,060.