Homeowners confident in regional economy
Remain wary of federal government

By Katherine Michalets - Freeman Staff

June 13, 2017

WAUKESHA - When the Greater Milwaukee Association of Realtors recently surveyed homeowners in the greater Milwaukee area, they learned that the overall perception of the regional economy is strong, but that they are concerned about national politics and policies.

The GMAR survey showed that 77 percent of homeowners believe that now is a good time to buy a home, and 58 percent feel homes are selling fast. That belief has been backed by GMAR data, which has illustrated that buyers having been quickly putting in offers on homes in good condition and priced under $350,000 once they are listed.

More than 75 percent of homeowners believe the regional economy is getting better or staying the same, according to the GMAR survey.

Of the four metro Milwaukee counties survey, Washington and Ozaukee county residents were the most upbeat about the economy doing better with 54 percent responding positively. Waukesha County came in at 46 percent and Milwaukee County was at 22 percent.

Of those surveyed, 17 percent of homeowners, or about one in five, are interested in selling their home in the next 12 months (6 percent are 'very likely' to sell, and another 11 percent are 'somewhat likely' to sell).

When it comes to purchasing a home, according to the GMAR, there are numerous quality of life issues that effect an individual's or family's decision to purchase a home, such as finding the right house in a good neighborhood, looking for a good school district, how far a neighborhood is from work, the cost, etc.

According to the recent survey, some of these typical life decisions have taken a back seat to happenings in Washington, D.C.

When asked, 'What would worry you most when it comes to buying a home in the next 12 months?,' 50 percent of respondents ranked, 'I'm afraid of what is going on in Washington, D.C. right now,' with a 4 (14 percent) or 5 (36 percent) out of 5. Some of the homeowner-related issues being discussed in Washington that might impact them include: tax policy, deductibility of mortgage interest, and health care, according to the GMAR.

Another important issue for would-be homesellers is concern that they couldn't sell their home for enough.

On the other end of the spectrum, 62 percent gave a 1 (the lowest ranking, noting very little worry) for concern about their job situation, 74 percent gave a 1 for getting a loan, 73 percent gave a 1 for having to move to keep a job, and 61 percent gave a 1 or a 2 to not being able to afford a new home.

When looking for a new home, 60 percent of respondents said they wanted a condo or smaller home, but the GMAR says that's problematic because new home construction is still catching up to its pre-recession production in the Milwaukee metro region.

In addition, 58 percent of homeowners would look for a new home in suburban communities, 23 percent in rural areas and 18 percent in an urban environment.