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Village looks to curb increasing home prices, luxury apartments on the way

Posted at 6:10 PM, Jan 25, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-25 19:10:36-05

HOWARD (NBC 26) — Housing prices have risen faster than incomes in northeast Wisconsin in recent years, according to the Housing Now Coalition of Northeast Wisconsin. In Howard, village officials are looking at how to curb the increase.

Construction costs for a single family home in the village of Howard have more than doubled in the last decade, according to the latest permit activity report.

On Thursday the Wisconsin Realtors Association released their December 2023 report. Compared to December 2022, the statewide median home price went up eight percent. The region of northeast Wisconsin came in as the fourth most expensive median home price in the state at $250,000.

"I don't anticipate that the prices are going to be coming down," Diane Campshure Walczyk, Realtors Association of Northeast Wisconsin President, said. She has been in real estate for 37 years. She said home prices have gone up 13% in Brown County in the past year.

"Prior to the last three years or so, it was maybe four percent appreciation per year," she said in her office Thursday morning. "So, 13% in one year, you know, is big."

"Historically [it's] been America's greatest saving mechanism, is buying a home, watching the value, you know, rise over the years of your ownership and then selling it about your retirement age, right?" Howard Village Administrator Paul Evert said. "[But] that's not something that's going to be available to younger generations if we don't find a way to increase the housing stock."

He said one way to lower home prices is to decrease how large the village requires a lot to be, thus decreasing the price of the land. Infrastructure-wise, he said making streets narrower can provide more land to build homes.

Evert said the village has been approached by developers looking to build affordable housing, but nothing is in the works yet.

"What should you spend on a home to consider it comfortable or reasonable?" he said. "You're talking about 30% maybe of someone's median gross income. In Howard, that's about $70,000 a household. But, on a $300,000 house at the current interest rates, you're really looking at having to have a household income of about $90,000 to afford a $300,000 house."

Although it can't be called affordable housing, one major project coming up in Howard is a luxury apartment complex. According to the developer, 19 total buildings will be built during the next 10 to 20 years where the former home of United Health currently stands.

The luxury apartments set to be built by T. Wall Enterprises will be discussed within the next couple of months at the Village Plan Commission meeting.