The lowest mortgage rates on record and the lowest home prices in more than a decade are driving the Wisconsin housing market out of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. Home prices are even beginning to show some signs of movement, and are forecast higher in most of the state through the remainder of the year.
Sales have been energized for almost a year as a result of discount priced foreclosures, but the bloated inventory of homes across the state is easing as buyers come in to pick out properties. Prices declined in most of Wisconsin for more than four years before the market began to make a transition, and is now going through a period of stabilization.
Wisconsin’s unemployment rate, hovering in the 6.8% range, is much better than most of the nation, providing the state’s housing markets with more potential home buyers. The biggest factor for any community when it comes to the housing market is employment and the state is moving ahead of many other regions of the country as forecast by Housing Predictor.
However, in order to fully recover from the downturn banks will need to reduce mortgage lending requirements, which may not develop for at least another year. Lenders are worried about one aspect of the market – foreclosures– but are beginning to make adjustments with more short sales as a result.
Driven by low mortgage rates, home sales are stronger in Milwaukee, and the city should see higher average home values towards the end of the year, with a modest 2.4% in home values forecast.
In Green Bay, the foreclosure crisis has led to lower housing prices in every sector of the market.
Green Bay has seen an uptick in sales and is off the bottom of the market with average home values forecast to improve 3.2% by the years end.
In Madison, the market is watching conditions improve with more home sales on nearly a month-to-month basis. The recovery should move into higher priced homes during the summer selling season and then sustain through the rest of the year, despite the fact that the majority of home sales take place during the warmer summer season. Madison home prices are forecast to climb 2.5% in 2012.
A surplus inventory of new homes lingering on the market made it especially difficult in Kenosha, but the market is seeing a recovery develop as buyers get off the fence and take advantage of lower mortgage rates. The movement is expected to sustain through the rest of the year, despite normal seasonal ups and downs.
Kenosha home values are projected to follow suit, forecast to increase 2.9% over the course of the year as the inventory of homes listed for sale tightens.