If you have been thinking about moving to Milwaukee and you have heard that real estate is relatively affordable here, but you don’t have a good handle of how much house you can buy for your money, then this video is for you.
Milwaukee is becoming more popular, and realistic prices have been going up steadily over the last years. But on a national comparison level, we are still relatively affordable. According to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine, in the top 100 most expensive Metro areas of the US, Milwaukee is ranking only number 61. The really interesting part is that we have relatively well-paying jobs here in combination with low cost of real estate, which is creating very high affordability. So the purpose of this video is to give you a high level overview of the different market segments here in Milwaukee, from zero to multi-million dollars so you get an idea of the lay of the land. And we are going to get started right now.
Hey, Marcus here with Keller Williams and another video about moving to Milwaukee. My team and I love working with relocation clients. We do this all the time. In fact, I’ve been relocated to Milwaukee myself. So I had to learn the entire city from scratch. I had to figure it all out and I definitely know what it’s like. I’m getting emails with all sorts of questions about Milwaukee real estate, and I love answering them. That’s also the reason why I’m making these videos. So if you’ve been thinking about moving to Milwaukee, definitely reach out to me. You can send me an email. You can give me a phone call, send me a text message, whatever works best. I’m looking forward and I’m excited to hearing from you.
The first thing that you should know about Milwaukee is that it is a lot bigger than most people think. So we have the city of Milwaukee, which is also referred to as Milwaukee proper, but that is only a part of the Milwaukee Metro area. So the City of Milwaukee is surrounded by 19 other municipalities combined. That is the County of Milwaukee. And then you have the surrounding counties with all the suburbs and all the subdivisions. So everything combined and included, you’re looking at about 1.6 million people.
A lot of people who come to Milwaukee for the first time are a little bit surprised about the variety of neighborhoods that we have here. I think in their mind, they have the notion that Milwaukee has to look and feel a certain way based on something that they have read or something that they have seen on TV, and then they’re a little bit surprised when they see the variety of different neighborhoods and lifestyles that Milwaukee has to offer, depending on which neighborhood and which municipality you go to. And each one of those has their own pros and cons, their own school district, their own lifestyle. So it definitely pays to keep an open mind and to drive around and explore and find out which neighborhood is the right one for you.
Of course, each neighborhood also has their own price segmentation from low to high. And for the purpose of this video, I had to make some really big generalizations. But the point of this video is to give you a high level overview and a starting point so we have an idea how much house you can get for your money here in the Milwaukee Metro area.
Let’s get started with the entry level segment, which is about 150 to $300,000. This segment is also the biggest in Milwaukee, so this represents about two thirds of all real estate transactions. And of course, this is the segment where all the first time home buyers are. A lot of millennials pushing in the market now, they’re buying their first house, and they will usually be around 150 to $300,000. Milwaukee has a large stock of these homes. Typically, you will get a three bedroom, one bath or a one and a half bath for that price. And a lot of them are built in the 1960s or even in the 1920s. So as far as condition, you have everything from completely outdated, all the way to HGTV-ready. And of course, the ones that show really nice are usually getting completely overrun with offers, so they’re selling on the first weekend and you might have five to 10 offers on a property like this. So that market segment is also very competitive, especially if the property is nice and updated.
If you don’t feel like mowing a lawn and if you don’t absolutely need to have a backyard, you could also consider a condo. 150 to $300,000 gives you a really good budget for an entry level condo, so that might be an interesting option. Or the other thing you could do is buy a duplex and rent out one side for income, and then live in the other side. We call it house hacking and Milwaukee is famous for its duplexes. We have about 66,000 duplexes in Milwaukee. That is more than any other city in the US and there is a lot of good options also in that 150 to 300 price segment. By the way, I have a whole series of YouTube videos about house hacking. So if you’re interested in how to do that, how to generate income by renting out one unit and living yourself in the other unit, I’ll put a link up here so you can check out that series specifically about house hacking with a duplex in Milwaukee.
If you’re going up in price, that will get you now into the three to $500,000 segment, which is what I would consider Milwaukee’s middle-class. So now you’re significantly over median home price. This is higher than what a typical first time home buyer would go for. And of course, you can expect a lot more house for the money. So what will this get you? In particular, two things. Number one, it will get you into bigger homes. And number two, it will get you into more desirable neighborhoods/better school districts. So typically you will be looking at houses that are at least 2000 square feet or bigger. You have at a minimum of three bedrooms. Maybe you’ve got four bedrooms, two bathrooms, or even two and a half or three bathrooms, very typical.
In terms of age, if you stay in closer to the lake, you’re going to be in homes that are built in the 1920s. So those would typically be your North Shore communities like Fox Point, Whitefish Bay, Shorewood, or even up here in Mequon or in Cedarburg. If you’re going a little bit further away from the lake, that is going to be more mid-century 1960s established neighborhoods, like Wauwatosa or Brookfield. And those are very popular neighborhoods because they’re very walkable. You have a lot of mature trees there, and people really like these family and kid-friendly features. There’s a lot of parks there. So those are really desirable neighborhoods. If you want to see more about good neighborhoods in Milwaukee, I have a video with my favorite neighborhoods in Milwaukee. I’ll put a link up here and you can go check out which are some of my favorite neighborhoods here in the Milwaukee area.
This is also a price range that gets you into some really fantastic condos, typically close to the lake, maybe even with lake views. And you are in the neighborhood, for example, like the Third Ward, which is very desirable for young professionals, very walkable, lots of nightlife there, lots of restaurants. So once we make it out of COVID, that is going to be a really nice neighborhood to be at. In terms of duplexes, $400,000 is about the max that we usually see, 350 to 400. So those will get you into the very desirable North Shore communities. And you can still make a house hack work very well because rents are also very high in that segment, and you will have very strong income from the unit that you’re renting out.
By the way, if you liked this video, you should definitely check out my channel. There’s a bunch of more videos with everything that you want to know about living in Milwaukee and Milwaukee real estate in general. I post a new video every week. So if you want to stay updated, please consider subscribing. And also, if you like this video, it would mean the world to me if you would give it a thumbs up. You can wait until the end of the video to give it a thumbs up, or you could do it right now. It will definitely motivate me to make another one.
Next up is going to be the five to $700,000 price range, which is what I would consider the upper middle class. So this is definitely starting to be a little bit more of an exclusive price segment, and this will get you into the nicest neighborhoods in Milwaukee. If you like an urban lifestyle and you want to be in an established walkable neighborhood, this will give you access to a very, very impressive homes, usually on the bigger side, 3000 square foot, 4,000 square foot. These are all going to be older homes if they’re in the established neighborhoods, but they’re also going to be extensively remodeled. So now you have fully updated chef’s kitchens. You’re having a nice dining room. Maybe you have a finished basement. You have at least four bedrooms. Typically some outdoor living space as well with the nice patio, nice backyard area. So you’re getting very, very impressive homes in this price segment.
This is also getting you into the bulk of new construction. So if you want to be more in the outskirts of the city, this is getting you into the new development areas where we have these new subdivisions, and 500,000 to $700,000 is where we see a lot of new construction spec homes being built. And that will typically get you a 2,500 square foot ranch with three or four bedrooms, maybe a finished basement, or if you want the two story, you’ll get more square footage in that. So oftentimes, the two stories are four bedrooms with close to 3000 square feet. And typically you will get a three-car garage with that on half an acre on an acre lot in a newly developed subdivision.
And with that, we have two more segments to go. So next up is the luxury segment that is about $700,000 to $1.5 million. Of course, with that type of a budget, you have a selection of very exclusive options, both in the city, in urban neighborhoods, as well as if you are going out into the suburbs and into the new developments. To give you some perspective, this accounts for only about 7% of all the properties in Milwaukee, so you are definitely in a very exclusive club here.
And of course, there’s the ultra luxury segment, which is, I would consider, everything over $1.5 million. So that will get you, for example, into the top segment out in Lake Country, which is the area just West of Milwaukee. There’s a lot of smaller lakes that get nice and warm in the summer, and they’re fantastic for boating and for swimming. And that kind of a budget will get you into an absolutely stunning, spectacular new construction home with your own private beach. If you want to be in Milwaukee, then this is a very small market and it may actually take quite a bit of time to find a suitable property because that market is so small.
Just to give you an idea, in 2020 we had only 18 of these homes sold in the entire year. So it’s a very small and very exclusive club. And this will get you, for example, on Lake Drive in Shorewood, or one of my personal favorites, Beach Drive in Fox point. And when you’re looking some of these homes on Beach Drive and you’re right on the beach of Lake Michigan, you’re looking at this and you’re thinking if I can have this, who needs a house in the Hamptons?
By the way, if you have comments or questions, and you want me to explain something more specifically, you can just put your questions and comments just below this video in the comments section here on YouTube. I’m usually trying to respond within 24 hours. And I love hearing from you your questions, your comments, where you’re from, why you’re thinking about Milwaukee. It’s always great when people are reaching out and I hear from you. If you’re getting value out of this video, I would really appreciate it if you give it a thumbs up. That would be great. And of course, if you want to get ahold of me, if you have any questions about relocating to Milwaukee, the best way is always to reach me via email. Just send me an email. Tell me what you’re thinking about with questions you have. I’m happy to hear from you, and I’m always happy to answer questions.
And that’s all I had for you. I’ll see you with another video next week.