Milwaukee’s median Main Street business prices rise during third quarter

According to, an online business for sale marketplace, the median sale price of a Milwaukee-area business rose to almost $375,000 during the third quarter, from $333,000 during the same period in 2007.

However, the third quarter number is a fall from Milwaukee’s second quarter 2008 median sale price at about $395,000.

The data was based on 96 Milwaukee area businesses for sale on the site, said Mike Handelsman, general manager of the San Francisco-based company. lists "Main Street" companies in about 70 different markets around the country. Its listings are primarily privately held businesses. Postings are usually made by the business’ owner.

"These are Main Street businesses – we focus on restaurants, dry cleaners, gas stations, service businesses and manufacturers on the lower end of the sale spectrum," Handelsman said.

Economic conditions appear to be taking a tool on small-end deals around the country, Handelsman said.

"Nationally, the asking price has stayed flat this year, around $50,000," he said.

Business segments like retail and restaurants typically see sales, and their sale prices, drop faster during economic downturns, Handelsman said. And markets with more manufacturing and industrial jobs, like Milwaukee, take longer to see lower numbers.

"Differences (in sale price) are driven by the local economy, if you have more retail than manufacturing," he said. "How hard is the real estate bust hitting the local market? How bad are people feeling? The worse that people feel affects retail and restaurants more quickly."

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