Wisconsin – A Housing Market That’s Looking Up
The Great Recession was not kind to Wisconsin. As recently as 2011, Wisconsin was still losing jobs – even though the rest of the country was gaining them. But in the Badger State, plummeting home values were actually more damaging than the jobs market. Those lower values led to fewer property taxes being collected between 2008 and 2012 – meaning that cities had to make due with a lot less money. In Milwaukee, home values dropped so low that the city wound up losing almost $6 billion just in property tax revenue!
What do the state’s home values look like now?
According to realtors around Wisconsin, selling prices made double-digit gains in December 2012. By the end of the year, the median sales price statewide was $132,500. That’s 10% higher than it was in December 2011.
So, what led to the dramatic turnaround?
Realtors in Wisconsin say the state saw a significant drop in foreclosures at the end of 2012, which enabled the “traditional” homes for sale here to sell for more money. And, the homes for sale in Wisconsin have started selling faster. In fact, the number of home sales in December jumped 11%, compared to the year before. That increase in demand is also helping to drive up prices—and, thus, the values of all the homes around them.
And in cash-strapped Milwaukee, the gains were even bigger!
Compared to 2011, the number of home sales in 2012 jumped a whopping 25%! The only problem? Selling prices didn’t go up in most of the counties that make up the Milwaukee metro. Typically, such a big rise in demand would cause selling prices to rise, too, but it didn’t. Realtors in Milwaukee aren’t concerned, though. They say homes are selling faster, consumer confidence is on the rise, and that will lead to future momentum.
Realtors in Dane County (where Madison is located) have even more to brag about. That’s because the number of home sales here increased 27% between the end of 2011 and the end of 2012! With nearly 6,000 homes sold throughout the year, this many contracts haven’t been signed here since 2007. And, what makes all of these sales so impressive is that the inventory in Dane County hasn’t been this low since 2004 – meaning that buyers are scooping up practically everything that’s available!
Interestingly, many of Dane County’s purchases were all-cash. In fact, only about 75% of buyers here actually applied for mortgages in Wisconsin. That’s something experts here weren’t expecting – but they’ll take the jump in sales any way they can get it!
And, hopefully, the momentum will keep up – and extend to the rest of the state!