Infrastructure Revolving Loans for streets, sewer, water, etc. to service new residential development. (Funded $275 million)
Main Street Rehabilitation Revolving Loans to repair and rehabilitate residential rental housing above existing building with a commercial use on the main floor. (Funded $100 million)
Judicial Review of local government decisions to increase certainty and predictability in the development-approval process.
Wisconsin Housing & Economic Development (WHEDA) program to fund low-interest loans for the rehabilitation of certain residential properties created under 2021 Wis. Act 221. (Funded $50 million)
Vacant Commercial-to-Housing conversion revolving loans to fund the redevelopment of vacant commercial buildings into new residential work force housing. (Funded $100 million)
Memos Supporting Legislation
Historic $525 Million Housing Inventory Investment
Governor Tony Evers signed into law five historic bipartisan bills that will increase workforce and senior housing inventory in Wisconsin. Additionally, the legislature approved, and the governor signed a budget that funds more than half a billion dollars for loan programs that will help strengthen Wisconsin’s housing inventory.
With statewide housing inventory levels at historic lows and median home prices continuing to rise, Wisconsin has a major workforce and senior housing shortage and action has now been taken.
Wisconsin employers are having difficulty recruiting workers to fill thousands of job openings due to a historic shortage of affordable housing options for workers.
In 2023, Wisconsin created a path to increase in workforce and senior housing statewide.
By-right Approval and Development Certainty
2023 Wisconsin Act 16 provides certainty and predictability in the development approval process, by requiring local governments to approve housing developments if they comply with local regulations. Additionally, the law streamlines the rezoning process and limits the ability of existing residents to oppose the development of new housing after a project has been approved. Expediting the development approval process and eliminating unnecessary delays, reduces costs for developers, thus increasing housing affordability.
2023 Wisconsin Act 16 addresses the workforce housing shortage by creating certainty and predictability by limiting the ability of existing residents to delay or stop the approval of proposed housing developments.
Single-family Home Permits 2004
Single-family home permits in 2021
To create more workforce and senior housing, new financing tools are necessary to fund infrastructure investments for development, the rehabilitation and repair of older housing stock, and converting units above main street and vacant commercial buildings into available workforce housing.
New financing tools will help increase the supply of workforce housing to help Wisconsin employers compete in the global marketplace, which will benefit our state and local economies. Allowing for the repair and rehabilitation of unlikely or rundown properties into residential housing units, creates communities where the workforce can be within walking distance or near transportation, allowing the workforce to live where they work.
Laws passed and funded in 2023 are aimed at increasing the supply of workforce and senior housing:
- 2023 Wisconsin Act 14 – Residential development infrastructure loan program – created a loan program at the state level to fund infrastructure (street, water, sewer, sidewalks, etc.) for residential developments. ($275 million in funding)
- 2023 Wisconsin Act 15 – Main street residential housing rehab loan program – provides a loan program for the repair and rehabilitation of residential rental housing above an existing building with a commercial use on the main floor. ($100 million in funding)
- 2023 Wisconsin Act 17 – Rehabilitation and repair of older housing stock –
established a new grant program to help homeowners repair or rehabilitate homes more than 40 years old in Wisconsin. ($50 million in funding)
- 2023 Wisconsin Act 18 – Vacant commercial to housing conversion loan program – provides a new financing tool with a loan program to assist in the development of vacant commercial buildings for new residential workforce housing. ($100 million in funding)
Year-Over-Year Dip in Home Sales (February)
Industry expert predicts declining statewide home sales during peak months due to low listings
Read more on the BizTimes
Newsmakers: Make More Workforce Housing
Assembly Committee on Housing and Real Estate
Wisconsin’s roller coaster housing market for millennials
Walworth County Owner-Occupied Housing Report
AN ANALYSIS OF WALWORTH COUNTY AND ADJACENT COMMUNITIES
Of particular note, our results suggest a significant shortage of affordable owner-occupied housing — i.e., the price bracket of homes that includes starter homes.
Policy that addresses this sector of the housing market — for example, policies that reduce fixed development costs, which most heavily impact the development of the most affordable homes— may improve the overall health of the entire housing market and ensure that there is sufficient supply of
affordable owner-occupied homes.
One change that could encourage housing development is to establish a consistent schedule of low fees and non-onerous regulations across communities, or setting reduced fees for starter-priced homes. The fees, permits and processes a prospective developer must adhere to vary considerably between communities. These hurdles create inefficient “shoe leather” costs, or the additional costs from time and effort that developers are required to incur while parsing through differing standards.
The additional costs are inevitably passed on to the homebuyer or may even discourage developers from constructing affordable owner-occupied housing altogether and instead choose to construct larger homes with higher profit margins where these costs can be more easily absorbed. Ultimately, such costs are either passed on to the homebuyer, prevent the expansion of the affordable owner-occupied housing stock, or both.
Wisconsin’s Housing Challenge: Inadequate supply, declining affordability
Prof. Kurt Paulsen, October 2021
Wisconsin Real Estate and Economic Outlook Conference
State Republicans Propose New Zoning and Development Bills
City, county groups push back against GOP bills geared toward affordable housing, property assessments
Restrictive zoning policies shut door to affordable housing in some suburbs
Amy Kaiser is a recently divorced mother of two children. She’s 38-years-old, has a college degree and works at a bank in Elm Grove, earning what she describes as a lower-middle-class income.
Kaiser was living in Brookfield, but recently had to move to an eight-unit apartment complex in West Allis after a divorce.