FRI AM News: Realtor argues rising mortgage rates are ‘long term positive’; WisBusiness: the Podcast with Chad Mason, founder and CEO of Advanced Ionics

— The head of Stark Company Realtors in Madison argues in a recent analysis that rising mortgage rates are “a long term positive” for the housing market. 

“Do not believe the narrative that rising mortgage rates are ruining the housing market,” company President David Stark wrote in a summer report. “The truth is just the opposite. Today’s rates are not only low by historical standards, they are about where they should have been all along.” 

He highlights efforts by the Federal Reserve to combat rising prices in response to “post-pandemic inflationary pressures.” These moves have led mortgage rates to rise from around 3 percent at the start of 2022 to over 6 percent several weeks ago, he wrote. 

Despite the rapid increase, he argues it’s more important how high the rates actually go, rather than how quickly they change. He says the change, while abrupt, is “finally allowing the market to embark on a period of normalization and healing, perhaps ending over a decade of imbalanced shortages, price increases, and frustration for many buyers.” 

Stark notes that 30-year rates were at historically low levels for the past two years, even lower than during the 2007-2011 recession. He says many in the real estate industry believe that rates were “kept too low for too long” in 2020 and 2021, disrupting the balance between supply and demand. That led to higher prices, with lower rates giving buyers more purchasing power. 

“The key takeaway here is today’s rates are not too high,” he wrote. “Yesterday’s rates were too low.” 

He predicts that mortgage rates may continue to rise in the near future, but will stabilize between 5 percent and 6 percent in the long run. 

Stark also says the idea that higher prices and mortgage rates have made housing unaffordable is “another myth that needs to be dispelled” — at least in the south central Wisconsin market. He acknowledges rising rates will lower purchasing power for buyers “who want or need” to get a mortgage. And some may “drop out of the market” due to these trends, he adds. 

“However, while the competition may have thinned, we still have much more demand than supply,” he wrote. “Our agents report that on the whole, not much has changed with rising mortgage rates. The remaining buyers seem undeterred, and competition, while somewhat reduced, is still brisk.” 

He argues that if housing was truly unaffordable, that wouldn’t be the case. Because housing “remains a fairly scarce resource” in relation to demand, he says prices won’t be going back down anytime soon even with higher mortgage rates. 

See the full analysis here: 

— This week’s episode of “WisBusiness: the Podcast” ifeatures Chad Mason, founder and CEO of Advanced Ionics. 

The company has developed a new class of existing devices called electrolyzers, which are used to decarbonize hydrogen production for industrial applications. 

“Hydrogen is used in a vast majority of things that we see and work with today — so everything from the food we eat to the plastics we touch. It’s even possible to be used in the metals and glass that we see in our windows,” Mason said. “So it’s a very important product and commodity, and it must be decarbonized to have a fully sustainable planet.” 

The Milwaukee-based company was recently selected for a $500,000 federal award by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy. According to an overview from the DOE, current electrolyzers “suffer from low efficiencies and high capital cost,” driving up the cost of hydrogen from electrolysis. 

By integrating with industrial processes and using “abundant, low-grade process and waste heat,” Advanced Ionics’ technology can reduce these costs, DOE says. 

Mason says the two-year ARPA-E grant will fund efforts to improve the durability of the company’s technology. 

“Anytime you bring a new technology to market, customers want to know, is this reliable, is this durable?” he said. “So this effort will really accelerate that process, allow us to hire some extra people and really hit the gas.” 

Listen to the podcast here: 

See the full list of podcasts: 

— Wisconsin’s unemployment rate remained unchanged at 2.9 percent in June, according to the latest federal figures released by the state Department of Workforce Development. 

That’s slightly higher than April’s historic low rate of 2.8 percent, the DWD release shows, and equal to May’s unemployment rate. It remained below the national unemployment rate, which was 3.6 percent in June. 

Meanwhile, the state’s labor force participation rate was 66.4 percent in June, compared to 66.5 percent in May. DWD notes that’s 4.2 percent higher than the national rate of 62.2 percent in June. 

Wisconsin added 44,900 private sector jobs over the year, driven by employment gains in the leisure and hospitality sector. 

See the release: 

— State officials have announced the launch of the WisCaregiver Careers program expansion, which aims to connect more nursing workers with on-the-job training. 

Gov. Tony Evers in May announced the workforce development program would be expanded with a $6 million investment. Administered by the Wisconsin Health Care Association and long-term care network LeadingAge Wisconsin, the program has trained more than 3,500 certified nursing assistants since starting in 2018. 

According to a release from the Department of Health Services, more than 240 employers are registered to participate. The May release noted the program has engaged over 300 of the state’s 385 nursing homes in efforts to boost Wisconsin’s nursing workforce. 

Along with expanding the program itself, the additional funding will go toward a statewide multimedia campaign aimed at recruiting state residents. It includes a website with a map of participating employers, streaming radio and TV ads, social media and print ads in local newspapers. 

DHS Secretary-designee Karen Timberlake says the expanded program “will make rewarding careers in health care possible for even more Wisconsinites, adding staff who will offer critical support to residents in long term care settings and to our existing health care workforce that continues to be on the front lines in the fight against COVID-19.” 

See the DHS release: 

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— The Water Council has announced two companies from the Netherlands and Thailand have won the Milwaukee group’s spring 2022 Tech Challenge. 

Both companies were selected by program sponsors to receive $10,000 awards, boosting their efforts to solve challenges in the water sector. 

MIS7, of the Netherlands, was selected for its method of generating electrical energy using the difference in temperature between a pipe and the surrounding area, according to a release. And Biovert Protein, of Thailand, has a way to reclaim wastewater and “upcycle” nutrient waste into renewable materials. 

Karen Frost, vice president of economic development and innovation for the Water Council, says applications for this round of wards came from eight different countries. 

“We are proud to shine a light on developing innovations for our sponsors and the water technology sector at large,” she said in the release. 

See more:

— Next month’s Madison Region Economic Development & Diversity Summit will feature remarks from Justin Jones-Fosu, an international speaker and author. 

He’s the founder and CEO of Work. Meaningful., which aims to help people develop passion for their work. He delivers dozens of keynote speeches each year for Fortune 500 companies, professional organizations and associations. 

This year’s summit will be held Aug. 16 at the Monona Terrace in Madison. 

See event details and register here: 

See more on Jones-Fosu: 


# June home prices were up and sales were down in metro Milwaukee; lack of new homes is ‘systemic problem’ in market; mortgage rates rising

# Wisconsin employment nearly back to pre-pandemic level

# How simple devices from a small company north of Green Bay turn foul water drinkable



– Silva appointed director of Center for Integrated Ag Systems


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– Housing market chills as mortgage rates, prices scare buyers


– Capital campaign underway to expand Dr. Howard Fuller Collegiate Academy

– Young Enterprising Society helps Milwaukee youths learn about business and career opportunities


– UnitedHealthcare launches network with a focus on Aurora, Froedtert, Children’s


– State program helps people with disabilities remain in the workforce


– Badger Meter considering production expansion

– Emmi Roth USA to build corporate headquarters and cheese facility in Stoughton


– What happened to metro Milwaukee’s other Boston Store properties

– Ascent in downtown Milwaukee certified as world’s tallest mass timber tower

– Emmi Roth USA to build corporate headquarters and cheese facility in Stoughton


– Macy’s to close one of its stores as it adds small-format locations


– Wisconsin business startup aims to expose flaws in lending practices


– When LeRoy Butler goes to Canton to enter the Hall of Fame, he wants to talk about bringing the WNBA to Milwaukee

– ‘Milwaukee is a basketball city’: WNBA star Arike Ogunbowale supports efforts to bring an expansion team to Milwaukee

– Andrea Nelson revives Wisconsin’s Golden Gloves boxing program post-COVID


– Milwaukee RNC backers remain bullish; Tennessee GOP chair holds out hope for Nashville


– I-94’s latest e-commerce development has basic premise: 26 acres to park trucks and trailers


<i>See these and other press releases: </i>

The Water Council: Winners announced for The Water Council’s Spring Tech Challenge

The Findley Foundation: Findley Medical Clinic to receive statewide recognition for ‘heroic services’