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"Historically low" inventory hurts homebuyers

Posted at 7:49 PM, Apr 21, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-21 20:49:46-04

OSHKOSH (NBC 26) — Times are tough for homebuyers in Wisconsin right now, thanks to what the Wisconsin Realtors Association calls a "historically low" number of houses for sale.

According to the Wisconsin Realtors Association, house sales were down 23% and the median price topped $272,000 in March; an increase of almost 7% compared to the same time last year.

As recent first-time homebuyer Emma Plagenz puts it, "The housing market is just chaos."

Emma and her husband Denton Plagenz bought their home in Oshkosh last fall, and said it took "four or five months" to find one that was both in good shape, and in their price range.

"The stuff we looked at in [our] price range; total fixer-uppers," Emma said.

Eventually, the couple bought their three-bed, two-bath, 1,600-square-foot home for $237,000.

Emma says the market conditions ultimately forced them to go with something different than what they wanted, but said they're still pleased with the home they bought.

"We wanted a big house in the country so we could have our animals and whatever, but just knowing what the market is and being young, you need a starter home," she said. "We got really lucky with ours though, for sure."

RE/MAX realtor Jeffery Marg said real estate prices have continued to shoot up since the Plagenzs bought their house in November, but not as steeply as the price of land.

"I've seen the value of land… pretty much almost double here too in the last seven or eight years," he said.

For Marg, the biggest problem facing buyers looking for either houses or land, is that there's simply not enough of either to go around.

"They could build twice as many homes as the state of Wisconsin built last year and it wouldn't be enough," Marg said.

He adds that ramping up building would be a challenge as well though, as builders are having trouble finding "the manpower to get the homes that we need."

As for first-time buyers like the Plagenzs, Marg encourages them to seek out creative, experienced agents, to help them find the right home, and be prepared to make "half a dozen offers" before getting a house.

Marg says the market will eventually correct itself, "but it's going to be a couple years."