One of the drawbacks of Iowa as a possible retreat location has been restrictive gun laws. It will be somewhat better as of January 1, 2011 when the state becomes a “Shall Issue” instead of a discretionary “May Issue” state for carrying concealed weapons (CCW) permits.
I think that the rural areas of Iowa offer good possibilities for retreats. The farm land is some of the best in the world. Water and rainfall are less of a problem than they are in some of the more western plains states. The people in most of the state still have “old-time” values of hard work and helping one another out. Because of the expense of farm acreage (on average, about $5.000 an acre), one option for those on a budget might be to live in one of the small towns. Also, one can sometimes find an older farm house with 5 or 10 acres for a reasonable price, where a larger neighboring operator has bought the farm to add to his holdings and does not want the house.
It may take a while to find the right property, because most people who have land aren’t selling. From the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Journal, December 16: Iowa farmland value up nearly 16 percent. Best Regards, – Andrew H.
JWR Adds: I must suffix the foregoing with one proviso: Some of the increase in land prices in Corn Belt states has been due to ethanol subsidies, which will be phased out in the lean years to come. So farmland prices in the Corn Belt may be headed for a correction.