TUE AM News: October home sales down 12.3 percent over October 2020; Cancer treatment center survey points to gaps in services

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— A total of 8,524 homes were sold in Wisconsin in October, marking a 12.3 percent decrease from October 2020, according to the latest Wisconsin Realtors Association report. 

The total number of statewide home listings also fell to 23,446 for a decrease of 7.2 percent between October 2020 and October 2021, the report shows. Over the same period, the median home price in Wisconsin increased 7.5 percent to reach $245,000. Inventory levels were also 11.4 percent lower over the year in October. 

Over the first half of this year, year-to-date sales had been “running well ahead” of last year, according to the report, with a 9.7 percent increase compared to the first six months of 2020. But that trend has changed in the past four months, in which sales have decreased 8.8 percent compared to the same period of last year. 

That means that existing home sales through the first 10 months of 2021 are just 0.1 percent higher than for the same period of 2020. At the same time, the year-to-date median price rose to $241,000 for an increase of 9.5 percent over the first 10 months of last year. 

Michael Theo, president and CEO of the WRA, notes that October was the third month in a row in which the increase in median housing prices was at or below 7.5 percent, calling the steady increase “welcome moderation” compared to the first seven months of the year. 

“While it’s good to see housing provide a good return on investment for homeowners, double-digit appreciation is not sustainable and threatens to keep some first-time buyers out of the market,” he said in a statement. “This moderation in appreciation rates has helped to keep Wisconsin housing relatively affordable, even in a strong seller’s market.”

WRA doesn’t expect another record year for home sales in the state, according to WRA Board of Directors Chair Mary Duff, given that home sales in the second half of the year have slowed. 

“However, 2021 will still be a very strong year for home sales since buyers remain motivated, fueled by very favorable mortgage rates,” she said. 

Still, the report shows the 30-year fixed mortgage rate rose above 3 percent in October for the first time in six months, driving down affordability as home prices increase. 

See the report: https://www.wisbusiness.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/October-2021-Statistics-and-Data-Charts-combined.pdf 

— A recent survey from the Wisconsin Cancer Collaborative identified some shortcomings in services provided by cancer centers in the state. 

The survey was sent to 90 cancer treatment centers in Wisconsin and was completed by 40 of them. Questions focused on the types of care offered, services provided for patients, standards of care and more. Results were recently published in the Journal of Cancer Survivorship. 

A release from UW-Madison’s Carbone Cancer Center — which is part of the collaborative — shows that researchers who conducted the survey found “several opportunities for expanded services,” such as sexual functioning and fertility. And less than half of respondents said their standard of care includes services such as cancer risk reduction, dietary programs, physical activity and rehabilitation, and behavioral health specialist referrals. 

Alexandria Cull Weatherer, outreach specialist for the Wisconsin Cancer Collaborative and author on the study, highlights some ways to fill these “gaps” in available services. 

“Possibilities to explore include increasing awareness of this patchwork availability, increasing insurance coverage and access to survivorship services,” she said in a statement. “While we need more research focused on what survivors want, there are many services not typically covered by insurance so providers may be reluctant to discuss them with their patients if patients might not be able to afford them.”

The survey also highlighted that cancer centers tend to be located in urban areas, while rural centers often have fewer services and specialists available, “or they’ll need to refer patients to larger centers in urban areas which not everyone can access,” Cull Weatherer said. 

Cancer survivors living in rural parts of Wisconsin don’t have equal access to oncology services or opportunities to participate in clinical trials, and ultimately face higher rates of cancer mortality, the release shows.  

See the release: https://www.wisbusiness.com/2021/uw-madison-carbone-cancer-center-first-ever-cancer-survivorship-care-survey-in-wisconsin/ 

See more on the survey results: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11764-021-01117-4 

— This year’s corn harvest and fall tillage efforts are nearly complete, the latest crop report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows. 

As of Sunday, 92 percent of grain corn in Wisconsin was harvested, which is one day ahead of last year. And fall tillage was 83 percent complete, which is six days ahead of last year. 

The condition of this year’s winter wheat crop improved slightly over the prior week, the report shows, reaching 80 percent good to excellent. 

Meanwhile, the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistical Service is preparing to survey producers on the number of acres they planted and year-end harvest figures, crop yield and production, and storage of grains and oilseeds. 

“The data provided by producers will help federal and state programs provide support to  farmers across the country,” Greg Bussler, Wisconsin State Statistician, said in a release. “We hope every producer who receives this survey will take the time to respond.” 

Representatives of NASS will be reaching out to selected growers in Wisconsin in the coming weeks to conduct telephone interviews. Results will be published in January and February. 

See the crop report: https://www.nass.usda.gov/Statistics_by_State/Wisconsin/Publications/Crop_Progress_&_Condition/2021/WI-Crop-Progress-11-22-21.pdf 

See more on the surveys: https://www.wispolitics.com/2021/usda-nass-to-collect-final-row-crop-acreage-and-production-data/ 

— The Southwest Wisconsin Workforce Development Board is getting a $1.6 million grant for training efforts to help people get jobs in the trades, manufacturing, trucking, childcare and early childhood education. 

The board aims to help 300 individuals over the next two years through projects including subsidized training, participation stipends, incentives for program completion and other support services. The grant was awarded by the state Department of Workforce Development and is funded by the American Rescue Plan Act, according to a release. 

Some of the programs will be administered in partnership with Southwest Wisconsin Technical College and Blackhawk Technical College, including a technical diploma for industrial maintenance and others. 

Plans for program implementation are in the works, and the board says it will soon be recruiting individuals for participation. 

See the release: https://www.wisbusiness.com/2021/swwdb-receives-1-6-million-worker-advancement-grant/ 


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