The Wisconsin REALTORS® Association (WRA) supports AB 607, legislation authorizing the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) to make low-interest or no-interest loans for the rehabilitation of residential properties when certain circumstances apply. Reinvesting in older housing stock pays off in the long run.
Wisconsin employers are having difficulty recruiting workers to fill thousands of job openings due to a historic shortage of affordable housing options for workers. With statewide housing inventory levels at historic lows, median home prices continuing to rise, and apartment rent increases outpacing wage growth, Wisconsin has a major workforce housing shortage problem. Unless this workforce housing problem is fixed, Wisconsin will be unable to keep and attract the skilled workers necessary for our economy to thrive.
A recent study titled, “Falling Behind: Addressing Wisconsin’s Workforce Housing Shortage,” authorized by Professor Kurt Paulsen, UW-Madison, indicates reinvestment in Wisconsin’s older housing stock is needed. “Reinvesting in older housing stock and older neighborhoods pays off in the long run. Property values are stabilized, housing is made more efficient and sustainable, and communities are renewed.”
Wisconsin’s existing housing stock is old and costly to own and repair.
- Wisconsin’s median age of its owner-occupied housing is 45 years. The national average is 39 years.
- Over 64% of Wisconsin’s single-family structures were built before 1980.
- Much of the older housing stock is in poor condition and in need of repair or updates to be more energy efficient.
- The current older housing stock is often occupied by seniors who are on fixed incomes and incapable of making the necessary repairs.
- First-time homebuyers or buyers interested in older housing stock are overwhelmed by the financial burden of the repairs needed in these properties, typically making them out-of-reach financially.
AB 607 authorizes WHEDA to make low-interest or no-interest loans for the rehabilitation of residential properties if ALL of the following apply:
- Applicant’s household income does not exceed 120% of the county median household income
- Applicant’s home is a single-family residence constructed before 1980
- Applicant agrees to repay loan upon sale or title transfer or vacating the residence