Madison WI Real Estate Blog

Ownership improves our community - regardless of age

This blog article is a response to Rebecca Thorman's recent write-up on

Thorman recently wrote that, "Life and community, my friends, just isn’t the same. And nowhere is this so obvious, in-your-face and damning than the current alarm of the real estate market."

Not the same? I would have to agree. It's not the same, but would argue that it's not due to the real estate market decline. Life and community has changed dramatically with the increase in flow of information (email, cell phone, text, facebook, twitter, etc.) Community is all about how we interact in this crazy world. If anything our interactions have been increased by this heightened level of communication in the information age of the past 10-20 years.

She goes on, "Before the economy collapsed, young people were being locked out of the housing market by astronomical housing prices and by our predecessors, Generation X and the Baby Boomers, who grew even richer."

I don't believe that's entirely true. Many people (young, old, and in between) flooded the real estate market more than ever between 2000 and 2006 because a lot more people could finally qualify for a loan without much of anything. During that time there were loan programs that would lend money for a mortgage to someone with no income, no job, and no assets. Aha...young (or old) person with not much money says, "sweet, I can buy a house." Then all of a sudden they lost their job at XYZ company and had a difficult time paying their mortgage. But it's all good because they didn't really have any money (aka down payment) in the game anyway, so they just walked away. And foreclosure rates are higher now than a year ago. Big surprise.

Thorman goes on, "Now that the housing market has collapsed, it means more young people are content with not owning a home. But as the prevailing American sentiment goes, if you don’t own something, you don’t have a stake in the future of our country. Young...

Awesome places to live in Madison

This past week I've been pretty busy with buyer clients. I worked with three fairly different types of people: lakefront buyers, a downtown condo buyer, and a guy looking in Oregon (just south of Madison).

For the couple looking on the lake, they really would like to buy a house but not have to spend a million dollars. In my experience, most lakefront homes in the Madison area start around $350,000 to $450,000. In fact, last year (April 13, 2008 to April 13, 2009 according to the south central Wisconsin multiple listing service) homes on Lake Kegonsa ranged from $415,000 to $665,000, Lake Waubesa ranged from $349,000 to $660,000, Lake Monona ranged from $417,000 to $1,300,000, and the highest range of lake front property went to Lake Mendota, ranging from $559,000 to $2,700,000.

I've always grown up near water and been impressed with the ability of lakefront property to give a tremendous sense of calm. As one agent in my office says, "You can just tell if they are 'lake people' when they walk into the house because they walk right up to the window facing the lake." I think I must be one of those types of people because I have a tendency to do just that when viewing lake property.

Another one of my favorite areas of Madison is downtown. Downtown Madison has an incredible vibrancy to it. Living downtown means that you can walk to the farmer's market, state street, Badger games, and more. If you like cities and the urban culture that it offers, then downtown Madison is the place to be (one of my favorites). You can catch a show at the Overture center, a parade around the capitol, or just browse the unique shops on State Street. This past winter I even did a snowshoe race with some friends by the capitol. It was quite an experience with my Alaskan style snowshoes. Although living downtown is not for everyone. If you like a little quieter community, then consider just outside of Madison.

My other friend was looking south of Madison in the Oregon...