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Bill Rubin column: Real estate values finally recover

Bill Rubin

Today's hot real estate market is far different than the downward spiral and crash that started in 2008 and impacted 2009 values and beyond, according to annual reports from the Wisconsin Department of Revenue. Equalized values are the foundation to support local taxes levied by towns, villages, cities, school districts and counties.

Collectively, properties in St. Croix County lost $1.807 billion (with a "B") from 2009-2012. 2010 was the most painful year when $616 million came off the books.

At the high point in 2008, properties in St. Croix were valued at $8.738 billion. The $1.807 billion in reductions meant a decline of almost 21 percent. In 2012, the drop hit bottom and total equalized values settled in at $6.93 billion. Seemingly, there was nowhere to go but up.

Good news. Equalized values in 2013 showed an uptick of 3 percent, followed by three straight years of 6 percent increases (2014-16). The 2017 preliminary equalized value estimates from revenue reflect a 7 percent gain for St. Croix County, or an increase of $602 million.

St. Croix's new total for 2017 edged over the $9 billion threshold for the first time. Through appreciation, new construction, and property reassessments, the recovery in St. Croix appears complete.

Does time really fly? Five years of increases enabled values to surpass reductions that ran from 2009-2012. That seems like a long time.

Lessons learned? The double-digit increases leading up to the crash represented an unsustainable model. Those 6 percent gains of late look more realistic.

Meanwhile the red-hot real estate market continues.

Bill Rubin is the executive director of the St. Croix Economic Development Corporation.

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