All real estate is local, and things in our state are certainly not the same as out in the coasts and some markets where real estate took a drastic hit.
Prices did drop in Wisconsin, especially in the major metropolitan areas like Milwaukee, Racine and Madison. However, many of the smaller communities and rural areas faired much better in the housing storm.
Here in the Green County, Wisconsin area, we have been showing some great signs of recovery. Higher end homes took about a 20% price drop, and starter home dropped more like 10%. This was certainly not an area where prices dropped 40% or more! We frequently have to combat that impression with buyers who are relocating to this area or people who put a lot of stock in the national media opinions on real estate.
After a very slow 2009, things have been picking up. Yes, winter was hard. No one likes to think about moving when the temperature is in the single digits and the foundations are buried under 3 feet of snow. However, as soon as the snow melt hit, the phones started rigning again and buyers came out in force. March and April saw great figures for home sales and sale prices. Both appear to have stabilized and appear to be inching upwards again. We even saw some properties receiving multiple offers or selling within days of hitting the market.
Short sales and foreclosure sales are still considerably higher than historical averages, which is to be expected given the realities of the economy right now and the fact that the market prices have not yet rebounded to the 2004-2007 levels.
The Home Buyer Tax Credit had a huge impact here in April, helping our area to close over 50 single family homes in that month alone. This is excellent for the very rural Green County, Wisconsin area.
Buyers are looking, sellers are becoming more reasonable in their pricing expectations - a great combination for the real estate future. Now I admit I tend to be an optimist, but I do see good things coming down the pipeline.