Homes for Sale in Waukee Iowa
Waukee, Iowa is a suburban community of about 20,000 people in the Western Des Moines metro area. Ranked multiple times by Money Magazine as one of the Best Places To Live in America, the city is known for its strong community pride, above-average job growth rates and attractiveness to young professionals and families.
Read on to learn more about the community and its schools, dining, recreation, and general livability.
Overview of the City & Neighborhoods
Surrounded by prairie and farmland, Waukee is situated on some 13 square miles of land about 16 miles west of the heart of Des Moines.
Originally called ‘Shirley,’ the town was founded in 1869 at the same time the Des Moines Valley Railroad entered Dallas County. Like many midwestern towns, Waukee made a name for itself as a coal mining hub and its growth took off from there.
Today, the city is characterized by quiet, landscaped streets, well-maintained homes and ample public parks. It’s the fastest-growing city in the state.
Centennial Park serves as a community gathering point for Waukee, hosting volleyball, baseball, basketball and disc golf games in the warmer months and ice skating and hockey in the winter, as well as multiple festivals annually. Waukee Stadium is another popular destination for residents, serving as home field for high school sports and welcoming other spectator events like the state marching band invitational and professional soccer matches.
Outdoor lovers in Waukee can enjoy fishing bluegill and largemouth bass in the city’s three fishing ponds and walking or biking along 19 miles of city-maintained trail. There are also a variety of seasonal programs for all ages offered at the Waukee Community Center.
Like the town it belongs to, the Waukee Community School District also holds the title of fastest-growing in Iowa. The district serves 11,000 students from pre-K through 12th grade, with eight elementary schools, four middle schools (two serving grades 6-7 and two for grades 8-9) and one high school.
The public school district boasts one of the highest graduation rates in the state at 99.26%. Nearly 90% of the district's graduates go on to pursue some form of postsecondary education. Students in the Waukee Community School District demonstrate proficiency levels above the state average in reading, math and science.
The Waukee Innovation and Learning Center, an offshoot of Waukee High School that combines business and education, was praised by the CEO of Apple as being “a model for the country.”
While there are no higher education institutions in Waukee proper, there are more than a dozen colleges and community colleges to choose from within a 50 mile radius. Des Moines Area Community College lies 25 minutes to the east and Iowa State University is less than an hour to the north.
Waukee has a highly educated workforce. According to the latest census data, 98% of the community’s adult residents are high school graduates, while 54% hold a Bachelor’s degree or higher.
Shopping & Eating
Waukee offers a variety of dining options spanning a wide range of budgets and cultures, including Vietnamese, Chinese, Indian, Mexican, Italian and more.
For a cheap meal, you can’t go wrong at H’s Pho, a favorite local noodle spot, while Sarpino’s receives high marks for its pizza. Rube’s Steakhouse is hailed as a unique spot to enjoy your favorite steak; the restaurant serves up a twist by inviting diners to grill their own steaks. You’ll also find nationwide novelty staples like Taco Bell and Dairy Queen in Waukee.
To satisfy your shopping itch, head to nearby Jordan Creek Town Center just up the road in West Des Moines. The shopping mall features more than 100 stores and restaurants, from large department stores like Dillard’s and Bed Bath & Beyond to specialty retailers like the Apple Store and Gymboree.
Bargain hunters in Waukee have their pick of thrift stores, including Growing Again for children’s apparel, Consignment Gallery for home decor and a Goodwill Store for general secondhand items.
The crime rate in Waukee, Iowa is lower than the state and national average for both minor crimes like theft and burglary and violent crimes like robbery and assault.
The theft rate in Waukee, for example, is about 7 per 1,000 residents, compared to the national average of 17 per 1,000 residents. Robbery here is very rare, with just 0.05 occurrences per 1,000 residents. The national average for robbery hovers around 1 per 1,000 residents.
Waukee was named by a leading home security company as one of the top 20 safest cities in Iowa.
One of Waukee’s key selling points is its convenience as a commuter city. It’s less than half an hour by car to Des Moines, which is a hub for finance, healthcare and education, among other growing industries. Several well-known corporations have a major presence in Des Moines, including Wells Fargo, Voya Financial and Fidelity & Guaranty Life insurance company.
While the majority of Waukee’s workforce commutes via car, commuters who want to avoid the hassle of driving into the city can take advantage of DART, the Des Moines Area Regional Transit system. DART Express Route 92 runs from nearby Clive all the way into Downtown Des Moines, with connections all over the greater metro area. Athletically inclined workers can even make the commute via bicycle.
The overall cost of living in Waukee is slightly higher than the national average for the U.S. and about 21% higher than Iowa as a whole. Waukee ranks above the national average for the costs of healthcare, housing and entertainment, but below the national average for groceries, utilities and transportation.