The total value of taxable Wisconsin properties rose a modest 3% this year to $505.1 billion. However, they have still not reached their pre-recession peak recorded in 2008. This is the key finding from a Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance (WISTAX) analysis of preliminary equalized value figures released by the state Department of Revenue.
Peak to trough, total state property valuations dropped 9.1% from a high of $514.4 billion in 2008 to a low of $467.5 billion in 2013. At prevailing appreciation rates, WISTAX estimates it will be 2017 before Wisconsin property markets erase the effects of an unprecedented five consecutive years of value decline.
The 2013-16 recovery in values has been steady, averaging 2.6% per year. However, that is modest compared to 2000-08, when statewide property valuation averaged growth of 7.6% per year.
Although total full-market property values increased 3% this year, appreciation was uneven, even spotty. Only 28 Wisconsin counties saw their values rise at rates that matched or exceeded the state average.
At the same time, 10 of the 72 counties reported valuation increases of more than 4%, and they were geographically limited. Six are centered in and around Eau Claire County, east of the Twin Cities. Three were in or near metro Madison, including Dane County. Kenosha, the other county in the top ten, is within commuting distance of greater Chicago.
Nine counties had values that declined or were flat. All are in the far northern part of Wisconsin, ranging from Sawyer and Bayfield in the west to Florence and Forest in the east. In most of these and neighboring counties, values of existing property declined even more, offset only slightly by new construction.
In the populous southeast, values in Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Waukesha, and Washington Conties rose at or slightly above the state average.
Lincoln County’s equalized value climbed just .4%, from $2.31 billion in 2015 to $2.32 billion in 2016.