Wisconsin Draws Newcomers with Quality of Life and Housing Prices

High-paying jobs, a comfortable lifestyle and a cost of living between 6.5% and 10% lower than the national average are drawing millennials and other newcomers to Wisconsin. The state’s largest city, Milwaukee, provides purchase opportunities for home buyers that can come close to 50% less than the national average. Milwaukee’s East Side hosts plenty of independent shops and movie houses, trendy restaurants and music venues. The city’s Third Ward neighborhood offers home buyers renovated condos and lofts that were once manufacturing sites and are now only a short walk from world-class food.

Geography Is Part of the Attraction

Located between the Mississippi River and the Great Lakes, Wisconsin’s landscape ranges from farmland to forest and from rugged terrain to luxury waterfront properties. Almost half of the state is covered by forest and there are 84,000 miles of rivers within the state’s borders. With this wide and varied range of geographical features, which includes 76 wildlife areas, 13 state forests and 15,000 lakes, Wisconsin provides its residents and visitors with a wealth of places to explore and enjoy.

The State’s Two Largest Cities and Home Markets

Milwaukee and the state capital, Madison, are the two largest population centers. Both cities offer newcomers and homebuyers attractive lifestyle choices and local amenities. Milwaukee is located on the western shore of Lake Michigan and is a primary economic and cultural center for the area.

Madison is a university town and also hosts a growing economy based on technology. Health systems and biotech startups have been developing in the area and corporations such as American Family Insurance and Epic Systems have their headquarters there. Madison was ranked 14 among the top worldwide cities for per capita venture capital investing in 2018.

Single-family homes in Milwaukee represent 65% of the city’s residences and the median listing price is about $120,000. Milwaukee residential properties are about 46% below the overall U.S. median home value. The median asking price for homes in Madison is significantly higher at about $250,000. This reflects a median home value which is about 13% above the national rate.

What You Can Expect When Shopping for a Home in Wisconsin

The average overall value for a home in Wisconsin is about $175,000, and that amount is expected to increase based on the law of supply and demand. Buyers should be prepared with a prequalified loan and ready to make a quick decision in order to gain an advantage over competing bidders. Some buyers, especially first-time buyers, may not want to find themselves in a snap-decision scenario and may wait until a greater number of homeowners put their homes up for sale. Developers are, however, building new homes and condos in Milwaukee and other areas in order to meet the purchase demand.