WisBusiness: Home price declines easing in Wisconsin

By Tracy Will
For WisBusiness.com

Stark Company Realtors President David Stark says there’s “good news for the Wisconsin housing market” in a Federal Housing Finance Administration report released this week.

For the 12-month period ending in March 2009, Wisconsin ranked 10th among the 50 states with a price decline of 0.91 percent.  This compares favorably with a national decline of 7.14 percent.

National rankings for Wisconsin housing regions (4/08 – 3/09)
Change in housing prices
60. Wausau, +0.86 percent
85. Duluth MN/WI, +0.07 percent
95. Appleton, -0.14 percent
117. Eau Claire, -0.59 percent
126. Fond du Lac, -0.84 percent
138. Madison, -1.29 percent
145. Green Bay, -1.47 percent
155. Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, -1.83 percent
164. Racine, -2.34 percent

Stark says the report “further confirms the fact that our housing market remains healthy.  Wisconsin was never much of a player in the sub-prime mania in the earlier part of this decade, so our price increases remained moderate even when some parts of the country were experiencing double digit percentage increases.”

With its 0.91 percent decline, Wisconsin is faring better than Minnesota (a 6 percent drop), Michigan and Illinois (both 6.4 percent drops), Indiana (a 3.2 percent decline), and Iowa (1.2 percent).

“The FHFA index is much more meaningful for Wisconsin than the more widely quoted Case-Shiller index, since that index only covers 20 cities throughout the country, none in Wisconsin,” Stark said. “Wisconsin housing prices remain solid on average.”

Over the past year, two housing regions in the state saw price increases: Wausau, with an uptick of 0.86 percent, and the area around Duluth, Minn., which saw an increase of 0.07 percent. (See the sidebar for the rankings of more Wisconsin housing regions).

FHFA Director James B. Lockhart credited federal stimulus efforts and President Obama’s “Making Home Affordable Program” as contributing to ease home price depreciation.

“Our latest data are consistent with growing evidence that housing market conditions may be stabilizing in some parts of the country, especially areas not covered by the other major repeat sales price index,” Lockhart said.

Photo source