The Wisconsin real estate field has been known among realtors to be slow at best if not downright deprecated following the effects of the post-recession. The past year (2014 through mid-2015) brought with it a 0.1% rate of decline to the 2015 housing market in Wisconsin. Those were only the ripples of a longer period of depression. Things only now seem to be improving for this local market. The rate of transactions is therefore likely to intensify creating a warmer overall economic climate and real estate market. The trend towards increased stability began last year according to our 2014 Wisconsin housing market predictions. Now, things appear even better. The state’s economy currently ranks as the 21st of all the states, so things don’t look that great; many investors tend to associate Wisconsin with the not-so-attractive niches of agriculture (especially the dairy business), manufacturing, and healthcare. But this doesn’t mean there aren’t still good opportunities to be found here. The housing market predictions for the region are just part of that bigger picture.
The pre-recession housing bubble burst making real estate more unpredictable for every state. Wisconsin was hit particularly hard. Since 2010, the market experienced huge oscillations with a half a year repeating cycle, which only dragged the overall value of Wisconsin real estate down with each new up and down movement. The Zillow reports for the past 5 years paint a bleak picture of wide ups and downs. Things finally start to look like they are settled and the market poised for a steady recovery. For a deeper understanding of the exact picture, we will briefly present the main factors of the 2015 housing market. Then, we will take a closer look at some of the local real estate markets in several Wisconsin cities. Beyond the Milwaukee housing market which is an obvious choice, we will also present a closer look into the local housing markets of Madison, Appleton, Green Bay, Lake Wisconsin, as well as Northern Wisconsin.
Influencing Factors for the 2015 Wisconsin Real Estate
Our research indicates that the median home value in Wisconsin in 2015 is currently $152,900. These values depreciated by about 0.1% during the past year. But, good news seems to be coming: we predict a 2.9% growth of the market (and corresponding rise in the home values) over the next year (up to mid-2016). The median value isn’t the same with an average: it means that half of all homes in the state are currently worth a bit less, while the other half a bit more. The average value may be a slightly different from the median, but not by a lot.
- As for the median sale price for homes in Wisconsin, the value is even greater: $164,600 was calculated by Zillow experts to be the median sale price on this housing market in the first half of 2015. This still isn’t back to the greater values of the pre-recession years which peaked in May 2007. It’s still better than the lowest point the market experienced in January 2012. The Wisconsin real estate values are slowly but steadily rising.
- Mortgage delinquency, which has a national average rate of 6%, is slightly tamer on the 2015 Wisconsin housing market with only a 3.9% rate. This means that there aren’t that many people who missed their mortgage payments and that foreclosures will play a smaller part in the overall sales on this real estate market compared to the national standard.
- On the other hand, there is another factor of Wisconsin real estate that doesn’t make the market too healthy: there is currently a 16% rate of homes with negative equity which is slightly more than the national average of 15.4%. This reflects the percent of home owners underwater on their mortgages, due to the fact that the value of homes decreased during the recession. Homeowners ended up owing more (via mortgage payments) than their homes are actually worth.
- As for rentals, our Wisconsin real estate data indicates that the market is stable. Unfortunately, it is not performing as spectacularly as in its former pre-recession glory. The average rent listing price for a home in Wisconsin is $1,162, a bit lower than the national average of $1,367. Per square foot, the average rent list price in Wisconsin is currently at $0.98 (last updated in May 2015).
- Overall, Wisconsin is becoming more and more affordable for middle-class families. The rise in the median price of houses is welcomed by everyone since the average income rose as well. According to Michael Theo, CEO of WRA (The Wisconsin Realtors Association), ‘Home prices in Wisconsin rose in 34 of the last 35 months’. He discussed the content of home prices attaining a median value of $135,000 this January which is 6.5% higher than last year’s January. He also added that ‘Median family income increased and interest rates decreased during this 35-month span, helping to offset the higher prices and keep housing affordable.
- For official numbers, there is also an index provided by WRA. The Wisconsin Housing Affordability Index was calculated in January 2015 at 254. This rate is higher than the value it previously held in January 2014 which was only 248. Things look good for Wisconsin real estate for the average person/prospective home owner and for investors.
Best Places to Live in Wisconsin
The Milwaukee WI real estate is a busy place due to the inherent business of the city, even if the home values are well below the state’s average values. The median home value in Milwaukee according to Zillow was $94,200 at the end of May this year, after a rise of approximately 0.9% since 2014. Housing market predictions for this area indicate that the prices will continue to rise with about 2.7% by mid-2016. As for the rent prices, the median rent price for Milwaukee is reported to be $922, while the Milwaukee Metro has a slightly higher median rent price of about $999.
Lake Wisconsin real estate is the star attraction of the state’s housing market, as well as the Northern Wisconsin real estate in general. The most profitable areas for realtors are located here, and giving how beautiful the overall area is, you probably can’t go wrong if you decide to invest in a vacation home in these parts. One such area is the Madison WI real estate, with a median home value of $200,100, expected to continue to rise. During the past year, this median home value in Madison has risen with approximately 0.7% according to Zillow, and will continue to do so with an even more impressive rate of 2.1%. As for rents, the median rent price here is currently $1,125, higher than they are in the Madison Metro area, where the median is $1,100.
Other well-developed areas in the state are Appleton and Green Bay. The Appleton WI real estate has recovered from the recession wonderfully and even surpassed the home values the area had pre-depression. Today, the median home value in Appleton is estimated by Zillow experts to be $125,000, having risen by 2.0% in the past year and on a trend to continue to rise by 3.6% in the next year. The median sale price per square foot is $84, and the median rent price per square foot is $0.74. Speaking of rents, the median rent price is calculated to be $1,032 in Appleton and $1,114 in Appleton Metro area, both still a bit below the national average ($1,367).
As for the Green Bay WI real estate, the median home value on this market is estimated to be $112,500 by Zillow experts, and is on a stable rising trend. The median home value has risen by 1.4% in the past year and the next year’s predictions foretell a further 3.3% rise. The market still isn’t as strong as it was in the pre-recession years (the median value of homes reached $121,000 in October 2006 and July 2007, for example), but it has definitely overcome the hardships of 2012-2013. The important thing is that the market is steady and on rise. As for rents, the median rent price is $946 for Green Bay and $1,023 for the Green Bay Metro area, both slightly a bit below the national average for median renting prices (which is $1,367).
All in all, the 2015 housing market in Wisconsin is performing well, and if all the other state economies performed that well in terms of real estate, the hardships of the recent recession would be in the past sooner than we’d think. The reliability of this growth is almost guaranteed by the fact that the overall economy’s trends match it (which is reflected the affordability we were talking about right above, for example).