TUE AM News: October brought an increase in home sales and prices in Wisconsin; Twenty-three counties see insurance expansion going into 2021

— Wisconsin’s existing home market saw another sharp increase in sales and prices in October, according to the Wisconsin Realtors Association’s latest analysis. 

The uptick was fueled by record-low mortgage rates, according to WRA. For the seventh straight month, mortgage rates fell into record-low territory, with the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage dropping to 2.83 percent in October from 2.89 percent in September. 

As a result, from October 2019 to October 2020, existing home sales increased 24.9 percent and the median price increased 16.3 percent to $227,324.

On a year-to-date basis, home sales are up 4.5 percent and the median price increased 11.1 percent to $220,000 compared to the same 10-month period of 2019. 

And all regions of the state saw home sales increase by double-digit margins. Figures were up between 13.6 percent and 17.3 percent in the central, northeast and west regions. More robust sales growth was seen in: the southeast region, up 25.2 percent; the south central region, up 35.2 percent; and the north, up 42.1 percent. 

“There’s no doubt that these record-low mortgage rates are a big reason our strong sales and  growth were robust in every region of the state,” said WRA Chairman Steve Beers. “We would have sold even more homes if the supply was there.”

Read the full story at WisBusiness.com: https://www.wisbusiness.com/2020/october-brought-an-increase-in-home-sales-and-prices-in-wisconsin/ 

— The economy will settle into a pattern of solid growth with low inflation for 2021, according to David Clark, Marquette University economist and consultant to the WRA.

This follows wild swings in real GDP in the previous two quarters.

The Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank conducts the Survey of Professional Forecasters, which includes economists from business, consulting firms and academia. The latest survey projects real GDP growth of 4 percent and inflation of 2 percent for 2021. 

“Clearly there remains uncertainty, but the prospect of an effective COVID-19 vaccine should lead to sustained growth over the foreseeable future,” Clark said.  

As the economy returns to a sustained growth path, mortgage rates, which are now at historic lows, will likely bottom out, according to the WRA.

— Wisconsin residents will have more options for individual health insurance on the market in 2021, according to the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance. 

In 2021, residents in 63 counties will have three or more insurance options on the individual market, including those carriers that are available on HealthCare.gov. This is up from 61 counties in 2020 having three or more carrier options. In total, 23 counties saw an expansion of insurers going into 2021.

All counties in Wisconsin are covered by at least one insurer offering individual, on-exchange plans.

Compcare re-entered the individual, on-exchange market for 2021 after exclusively offering off-exchange-only plans for several years. The other 13 individual, on-exchange insurers for 2021 were present in the individual, on-exchange market for 2020.

Six insurers expanded their individual, on-exchange service areas: Aspirus Health Plan, Common Ground, Compcare, Group Health Cooperative South Central Wisconsin, HealthPartners and WPS Health Plan.

Open enrollment — the annual period in which people can enroll in a health insurance plan on the individual market — will continue through Dec. 15. Coverage starts Jan. 1.

“In Wisconsin, 8 out of 10 people who enrolled in a Healthcare.gov plan last year qualified for financial assistance to lower their monthly payment,” Insurance Commissioner Mark Afable said. “This year, I urge anyone who needs health insurance to learn more about their options through the marketplace.”

Many Wisconsinites will also benefit from lower rates in 2021. Rates on the individual market will be 3.4 percent lower in 2021 on average than rates in 2020, according to the OCI. 

Wisconsin residents can visit WisCovered.com for help getting health care coverage.

See an interactive map of health insurers — both on- and off-exchange — available by county: https://oci.wi.gov/Pages/Consumers/FindHealthInsurer.aspx  

See additional details about the rate filings for all of the individual issuers, including maps illustrating changes to their service areas: https://oci.wi.gov/Pages/Consumers/HealthPremiumRates.aspx 

— Foxconn Technology Group is currently developing data center infrastructure in response to customer demand in Wisconsin and the U.S., according to the company.

A report from Bloomberg yesterday citing “people familiar with the matter,” said Foxconn may be assembling computer components for Google in Mount Pleasant.

“As a matter of policy and for reasons of commercial sensitivity, we do not comment on any aspect of our specific operations or work for previous, existing and potential customers,” Foxconn told WisBusiness.com. 

The Bloomberg report follows the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.’s October ruling that Foxconn is not eligible for a multi-billion dollar tax credit this year after failing to meet thresholds for job creation and investment.

In an objection letter to WEDC on Oct. 30, Foxconn wrote it looked forward to continuing its discussions with WEDC in the weeks ahead.

A WEDC spokesperson was not immediately available for comment on the two entities having had discussions or Foxconn’s plans to build servers for Google in Mount Pleasant.

See more in top stories below.

— Milwaukee hospitality leaders will headline a WisPolitics.com-Milwaukee Press Club Newsmaker virtual event on Dec. 3.

The lunch hour event will feature Rodney Ferguson, CEO and general manager of Potawatomi Hotel & Casino, Omar Shaikh, restaurateur and VISIT Milwaukee chair, and Gary Witt, CEO of the Pabst Theater Group. The three will discuss how the pandemic has affected the hospitality industry.

The event is set to run from noon to 1 p.m.

You must register in advance to view this free event: https://milwaukeepressclub.org/events/milwaukee-hospitality-leaders-to-headline-newsmaker-lunch-hour/ 

— Wisconsin reported 3,095 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the seven-day average for daily confirmed cases down below 6,000.

On Nov. 16, the seven-day average was at 6,426 cases per day compared to 5,859 yesterday. The record, hit Wednesday, is 6,563 cases per day. 

The state reported six new deaths among confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the death toll to 3,011 and marking 362 deaths since Nov. 16. 

By comparison, the week leading up to Nov. 16 saw 320 deaths. The state saw its record single-day death toll last Tuesday.

<i>For more of the most relevant news on the coronavirus outbreak, reports on groundbreaking health research in Wisconsin and links to top stories, sign up today for the free daily Health Care Report from WisPolitics.com and WisBusiness.com.

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— The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty asked the state Supreme Court to strike down Dane County’s latest public health order that, among other provisions, bans all indoor mass gatherings in the leadup to Thanksgiving.

The suit was filed yesterday on behalf of Gymfinity, a Madison-based gymnastics center, and two Dane County residents. It alleges Madison and Dane County “unlawfully delegated near limitless legislative power to their local health officer.”

In turn, the suit alleges Public Health Madison & Dane County Director Janel Heinrich has “seized that power since May to rule the city and county by decree.”

The order filed Tuesday bars indoor gatherings outside of one’s household while limiting outdoor gatherings to no more than 10 people. The order nixes a host of other activities, including in-person sporting events, movies and group exercise classes.

The suit argues the order cannot be enforced unless it was issued through a local governing body rather than a public health official and further alleges it violates a number of statutes and constitutional rights. WILL is asking the court for a temporary injunction to block the order and to issue a briefing schedule to “allow more fulsome analysis” of the issues it presents.

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi in a statement slammed “conservative legal activists” who have “spent the better part of the past 7 months fighting medicine and the only interventions available to slowing the spread of the deadly Covid-19 pandemic.”

“Dane County will vigorously defend its orders because it is the right thing to do for people who are giving their all right now,” Parisi said.

Yesterday’s suit marks the second that WILL has brought against Dane County. In the other case, the state Supreme Court in September suspended a Dane County emergency order requiring students in grades 3-12 to meet entirely online.

See the suit: https://www.wispolitics.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/emergency-petition-for-original-action.pdf

See the order: https://www.wispolitics.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/2020-11-17_Order_10.pdf


# Foxconn Plant Championed by Trump Lands Google Server Contract 


# Attorney General Files New Challenge Against Lame-Duck Law 


# Milwaukee Bucks won’t host fans at Fiserv Forum until further notice https://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/news/2020/11/23/milwaukee-bucks-wont-host-fans-at-fiserv-forum-un.html 



– Wisconsin’s 2020 harvest is almost done https://brownfieldagnews.com/news/wisconsins-2020-harvest-is-almost-done/ 

– State Potato Growers Move On Line https://www.midwestfarmreport.com/2020/11/23/state-potato-growers-move-on-line/ 


– As Wisconsin Teachers’ Unions Call For Statewide Shutdown Criteria, Evers Doubles Down On Local Control https://www.wpr.org/wisconsin-teachers-unions-call-statewide-shutdown-criteria-evers-doubles-down-local-control


– Northwestern Mutual delays reopening offices until summer 2021 https://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/news/2020/11/23/northwestern-mutual-delays-reopening-offices-until.html 


– Hospitals Make Desperate Plea Before Holiday To Avoid Further COVID-19 Spread https://www.wpr.org/hospitals-make-desperate-plea-holiday-avoid-further-covid-19-spread 

– Mayo Clinic Puts Hospital Beds In Ambulance Garage, Lobbies As COVID-19 Surges https://www.wpr.org/mayo-clinic-puts-hospital-beds-ambulance-garage-lobbies-covid-19-surges 


– Socialeads raises $1.75 million to expand Insurtech business https://biztimes.com/socialeads-raises-1-75-million-to-expand-insurtech-business/ 


– Winnekins Named National Farm Broadcaster of the Year http://www.wisconsinagconnection.com/story-state.php?Id=1249&yr=2020 


– Wisconsin Presidential Recount Continues After Weekend Of Conflict Between Officials, Observers https://www.wpr.org/wisconsin-presidential-recount-continues-after-weekend-conflict-between-officials-observers


– The Couture gets financing approval, construction to begin in January https://biztimes.com/the-couture-receives-hud-loan-guarantee/ 


– Near perfect weather and COVID-19 bolsters the opening of deer season


– American Family Field signs could replace Miller Park logo by February. Here’s what they look like. https://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/news/2020/11/23/american-family-field-signs-could-be-up-on-miller.html 


– Fiserv appoints new chairman to board of directors https://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/news/2020/11/23/fiserv-appoints-new-chairman-to-board-of-directors.html 


– Marcus Theatres closes more locations because of rising Covid-19 numbers https://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/news/2020/11/23/only-44-marcus-theatres-locations-are-open-with-ri.html 

– Wisconsin Museums Closing Indefinitely Due To Rapid COVID-19 Spread https://www.wpr.org/wisconsin-museums-closing-indefinitely-due-rapid-covid-19-spread 


– Wisconsin Hospital and Health System Physician Leaders Issue Joint COVID-19 Safety Message https://www.wisbusiness.com/2020/wisconsin-hospital-and-health-system-physician-leaders-issue-joint-covid-19-safety-message/ 


<i>See these and other press releases: 

https://www.wisbusiness.com/press-releases/ </i>