The lack of existing housing and low interest rates are big reasons why more new homes are being built so far in Wisconsin this year relative to 2020, according to the Wisconsin Builders Association.
WBA recently reported that new-home construction statewide was up 38.1% the first half of this year, compared to the same time period the year before.
“The lack and competition of existing housing combined with low interest rates continue to play a huge role in the demand for new housing,” Brad Boycks, WBA executive director, said in a statement. “Even despite the high costs of building materials, we are excited to see the building industry continue to thrive as it’s one that supports so many other industries across the state.”
WBA, a homebuilders' trade association, monitors new-home construction through building permit data. Municipalities submit building permit records to the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services.
Builders pulled just over 7,000 permits through the end of June this year. The second quarter alone saw nearly 4,400 new permits.
New-home construction for the first half of 2020 was down 3.8% from 2019, but finished the year 10% higher, according to WBA spokesperson Alicia Naleid.
Homebuilding has skyrocketed since early 2020 when the inventory of existing homes fell and demand increased, Naleid said in an email.
In southeastern Wisconsin, Washington County had the highest year-over-year increase in new permits through June 30, at 91.3%. But it was Waukesha County with the most total permits pulled for that period, at 595. That's an increase of 86.5%.
In fact, the only county statewide to beat out Waukesha for new permits so far was Dane County, at 769.
The rest of the southeastern region saw the following year-over-year increases:
Ozaukee County (58.4%)
Walworth County (54.2%)
Kenosha County (50.5%)
Racine County (19.1%)
Milwaukee County (14.3%)
Sheboygan County (9%)
Also, Wisconsin communities approved 97 plats and 2,413 lots through the end of June. This year is on track to beat out 2020's numbers, which totaled 201 approved plats and 5,340 approved lots across 12 months.
“The number of new starts and approvals of plats and lots are very encouraging,” WBA president Abe Degnan said in a statement. “We have and continue to hope construction prices come down soon as it will continue to drive the positive upward growth of building.”