Point of Interest
Homes are in high demand in Wisconsin and home prices have risen in recent years. Still, the state offers affordable home prices and average mortgage rates compared to other states, which gives homebuyers an opportunity to purchase property that can increase in value.
Home inventory demand in Wisconsin is high, in part because the state has experienced population growth every year since 2010. Home prices in Wisconsin are also lower than average compared to the rest of the U.S. — and mortgage rates tend to fall in the middle of the national averages — so the demand for housing in this state has been steady.
While this steady demand has caused dramatic price increases in Wisconsin over the past couple of years, the good news for homebuyers is that, like the rest of the country, mortgage rates are currently low in the state. So, if you’ve been thinking about buying or refinancing a home in Wisconsin, now is a great time to break into the market. You’ll be met with low mortgage rates and affordable homes that have the potential to increase in value as home demand increases in the state.
Getting a mortgage in Wisconsin
Home prices in Wisconsin have steadily been rising since 2018 as demand has increased and supply has tightened. That makes getting a mortgage more competitive, though home prices in Wisconsin are lower than average compared to the rest of the country. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median value of owner-occupied housing units in the U.S. from 2014 to 2018 was $204,900. In Wisconsin, it was $173,600.
While Wisconsin is a relatively affordable place to live in the United States, its affordability also makes it a desirable place to move to. In June 2019, the median price of houses sold soared above $215,000, which set a new record. The Wisconsin Realtors Association reported in Apri 2020 that the median single-family home price in Wisconsin was $214,000, a 9.68% year-over-year increase. Something positive for homebuyers in Wisconsin is that home sales fell 6.9% year-over-year in April 2020, freeing up more inventory for aspiring homebuyers in the state.
- Median home price: $173,600
- Average 30-year fixed rate: 3.68%
- Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,418
- Homeownership rate: 66.9%
Wisconsin state mortgage rate trends
Since mid-2018, mortgage rates in Wisconsin have been on an overall downward trend. While the 30-year fixed mortgage rate for those with high credit scores rose to nearly 4.9% in late 2018, they fell in June 2020 to 3.44%, a drop of nearly 1.5%.
Mortgage rates for 15-year fixed mortgages and 5/1 ARMs have also declined steadily since mid-2018. A 15-year fixed mortgage rate for those with high credit was at around 4.17% in late 2018, but dropped to about 2.8% in June 2020. The average rate in late 2018 for a 5/1 ARM mortgage for borrowers with high credit was near 4.2%, and it dropped to 3.1% in June 2020. All mortgage rates, including 30-year fixed, 15-year fixed and 5/1 ARM rates, increased sharply in spring 2020 to reach near-2018 rates, but then plunged to two-year lows.
Wisconsin state current mortgage rates
Today’s mortgage rates in Wisconsin are at historic lows like the rest of the country due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The average 30-year fixed rate in Wisconsin was 3.68% as of June 2020, while the average 30-year refinance rate was about 3.70%.
The 15-year fixed rate averaged about 3.15% in June 2020, while the 5/1 ARM rate averaged about 3.53% and the 30-year fixed jumbo rate averaged about 4.03%. As the coronavirus pandemic continues to affect the economy and the federal rate, homebuyers can expect continued low mortgage rates as well. Considering that mortgage rates sharply increased pre-COVID-19 and home prices in Wisconsin have experienced dramatic year-over-year increases, now could be the optimal time to buy a home in Wisconsin before rates and home prices rise again.
Most and least expensive places to live in Wisconsin
Home prices across Wisconsin have been rising steadily since 2018. In southeast Wisconsin, prices are nearly 10% higher year-over-year, and in Washington County, prices shot up 22.7% as of September 2019.
- Ozaukee County — The average median home value in Ozaukee County was $273,000 as of 2020.
- Waukesha County — The average median home value in Waukesha County was $272,100 as of 2020.
- Dane County — The average median home value in Dane County was $252,300 as of 2020.
- St. Croix County — The average median home value was $233,600 in St. Croix County as of 2020.
- Washington County — The average median home value in Washington County was $225,800 as of 2020.
- Menomiee County — The average median home value in Menomiee County was $103,300 as of 2020.
- Ashland County — The average median home value in Ashland County was $110,100 as of 2020.
- Rusk County — The average median home value in Rusk County was $110,400 as of 2020.
- Iron County — The average median home value in Iron County was $113,100 as of 2020.
- Langlade County — The average median home value in Langlade County was $113,200 as of 2020.
Wisconsin state mortgage resources and intricacies
The Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) offers programs for homebuyers in the state. One is the First Time Home Buyer (FTHB) Advantage program, which offers a low fixed interest rate for first-time homebuyers, veterans and people purchasing in a federally designated area who qualify. The interest rate is priced below the standard conventional rate.
There’s also the WHEDA Advantage Conventional Home Loan, which offers low monthly mortgage payments, closing cost and down payment assistance, and a 30-year-fixed interest rate. WHEDA also offers the Advantage Conventional HomeStyle Renovation, which enables borrowers to buy and renovate a home with one home loan.
According to Windseeker Realty LLC, a real estate company in Bayfield, Wisconsin, the requirements to buy a home in Wisconsin are similar to most home buying processes throughout the country. To get a mortgage or refinance a home, you’ll need to show proof of income, tax returns, proof of assets, proof of employment and personal identification like your Social Security number, driver’s license and passport. Your credit score will influence your mortgage approval as well.
The final word
Wisconsin has had steady population growth and increased demand for housing over the past decade, which is reflected in rising housing costs. The state is still one of the more affordable places to live in the U.S. With average mortgage rates at a historic low today, it’s an ideal time to break into the Wisconsin housing market.