Wisconsin is known for the Green Bay Packers, the friendly locals, Milwaukee’s Best beer, and cheese curds. But there’s a lot more to this idyllic midwestern state than beer, cheese, and football, although those things are a great start.
Besides the obvious quality of life advantages, Wisconsin also offers home values that are lower than the national average. The median home value across the state is only $187,100, according to June 2019 data from Zillow, so there’s great value in Wisconsin. The market’s hot, too, with home values rising 6.4% over the past year, and projected to rise a further 3% over the next year, which is notable when most national markets are projecting flat or negative growth.
Wisconsin’s economy has been steadily adding jobs for several years, their unemployment rate is lower than the national average, and statewide personal income has been rising year-over-year at a healthy pace. Clearly, it’s a good time to relocate to Wisconsin. But where should you move to? In a state with so many appealing cities, villages, and towns, it’s difficult to pick just five, but here’s our in-depth guide for the best places to live in Wisconsin.
Madison’s the state capital, and home to the University of Wisconsin, so it has all the culture and flavor of a college town, along with the prestige of a capital. Thanks to the university and the state government, Madison has the lowest unemployment rate of anywhere in the state. The city also offers a ton of options for outdoor recreation, with 15,000 acres of lakes, and 200 miles of hiking and bicycling trails. It’s also one of the greenest cities in the country, ranking high for the percentage of people who carpool, bike, or take public transit to work.
The median home value in Madison is $253,400, which is higher than the statewide average. A lot of this is because of the strong rental market in Madison, which is driven by university students. The market’s gone up 3.2% in the last 12 months and is projected to increase by a further 0.8% in the next 12 months.
This charming port town lives up to its name. Located right on Lake Superior, the town of Superior was once considered “the next Chicago.” During a railroad boom in the late 19th century, the town experienced rapid development, and many architect-designed buildings were put up. Though the boom is long gone, the buildings remain, and the historic downtown is one of the state’s most picturesque.
In addition to being on the lake, the town’s also framed by the Nemadji and Saint Louis rivers, so there are plenty of opportunities for boating, fishing, and waterskiing. The city itself has plenty of green spaces, with several parks in the city, and two state parks within a short distance. The Billings Park neighborhood also has the second largest municipal forest in the United States.
The median home value in Superior is $122,300, and home values have increased by 3.5% over the past 12 months. They’re projected to increase by 0.9% over the next 12 months, so the market is definitely cooling off.
This village on the bay is in Milwaukee County, and it has a lot of history. The quaint main street features Regina’s Bay Bakery, which dates to 1932, and Whitefish Bay Inn, which is over 100 years old. There’s also a historic theater, and a variety store that’s been open since 1965. There are more modern establishments too, like a lingerie shop, a vegan market, and even a sensory deprivation float tank business.
The median home value in Whitefish Bay is $428,800, which is well over double the statewide average. Home values have risen an impressive 7.7% over the past 12 months and are projected to rise by 4% in the next 12 months.
This upscale Milwaukee suburb is one of the area’s top shopping destinations, with over 3 million square feet of retail spread over several malls and shopping centers, which is the equivalent of 52 football fields. Brookfield offers upscale dining options and over 2100 hotel rooms. It’s also close to the city, with quick access to Brewers and Bucks games, and Milwaukee’s main airport.
The median home value in Brookfield is $323,000, and home values have increased by 5.5% over the past 12 months. They’re projected to increase a further 2.8% in the next year.
West Bend is in the southeastern part of the state, less than an hour from the Illinois border and 40 miles north of Milwaukee. The Milwaukee River runs through the center of the town, parallel to a paved riverwalk for biking, walking, and skating’ there’s also a rails-to-trails project cutting through the city. West Bend also has several museums, from the Museum of Wisconsin Art, to a courthouse museum and a historic jail that’s operated by the Washington County Historical Society.
The economy mostly depends on manufacturing, and has been so consistently strong over the decades that, according to Ripley’s Believe it or Not, West Bend was the only town in America that avoided the Great Depression.
The median home value in West Bend is $201.200, and home values here have increased by 4.4% in the past 12 months. They’re projected to further increase by 1.4% over the next 12 months.
Wherever you settle, an experienced local real estate agent can help you save time and money by quickly finding your dream home at a dream price. Clever Partner Agents are top performers in their respective markets, and they can even offer you a home buyer rebate that’ll put money back in your pocket to put toward your down payment. Intrigued? Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation!