A report from the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance (WISTAX) following the release of property valuations from the Department of Revenue show the state has recovered property values since the 2008 recession, but some counties continue to lag behind, including Door and other tourism communities.
According to the report, the total value of property in Wisconsin is at a record high, surpassing the previous record set in 2008 prior to the recession. But looking at each individual county, gains and losses are dispersed across the state.
“The county-level figures show widely differing conditions across the state,” according to the report. “For example, since 2008, property values rose 27 percent in Trempealeau County but declined 14 percent in Adams County.”
In Door County, property values saw a modest gain of 0.9 percent from 2016 values, but total value at $7,113,624,900 is still 5 percent below the 2008 peak of $7,490,345,500.
The 29 counties still experiencing more than five percent property value depression since 2008 highs are primarily located in the north, with some in central Wisconsin and a few more in the southeast region. Door County is the only county in northeast Wisconsin that has not recovered from 2008 values.
Dale Knapp, research director with WISTAX, said the lagging of most northern counties is primarily due to economic conditions.
“Those same counties continue to lag economically,” said Knapp. “Many northern counties still have not regained all of the jobs lost during the 2007-09 recession.”
Knapp also said the northern counties struggling to rebound are losing population, increasing housing stock, and decreasing those property values.
Tourism-heavy counties are among those that still have depressed values.
Outside of Door County, three of the four counties that share the City of Wisconsin Dells have not regained 2008 property valuations. Bayfield County is also 5.9 percent below 2008 valuations.
Knapp said people may be less likely to invest in vacation homes as their first homes have just started to recover 2008 value.
Kewaunee County property values have been volatile for a unique reason. The power station in Carlton was decommissioned in 2013 and put back on the tax rolls at a value of $457.4 million, added 33 percent of value to the county in 2014. Since then, Kewaunee County has seen a 17.6 percent decrease in value from 2016 to 2017. Despite the recent struggle, the county has added 12.6 percent in value from 2008 levels.