BELOIT — The term “seller’s market” certainly applies to what’s happening in real estate right now, both at the local and national level.
Shelly Cronin, a Century 21 realtor based in Beloit, said there are a number of factors for the recent boom in the area.
“I think the interest rates are a huge factor,” Cronin said. “When they are as low as they are right now, people can afford a lot more house. Another factor is that there aren’t as many rentals available, and rental prices are increasing. People are figuring out they can afford to buy a home for less than what they are paying to rent.”
Cronin said opportunities for first-time buyers are unprecedented in her experience.
“I’ve been doing this for 15 years, and one thing that hasn’t changed is that people want that American dream of owning a house,” Cronin said. “And never did I imagine that people could get a conventional loan by only putting 3 to 5% down. There are a growing number of flexible loan programs that have given people many options that they didn’t have in years past. And people are taking advantage of that.”
Cronin said she’s handled many clients that want to relocate into the area from Illinois.
“I’ve worked with a lot of people that are getting taxed out in Illinois,” Cronin said. “There’s just an onslaught of people that are looking to leave right now. I have people call and tell me they just want to be in Wisconsin. They aren’t happy with the political climate, or the real estate taxes, and they just want to get out. That’s contributed to prices increasing here, and certainly you can point to the downtown being revitalized and the overall business growth in the area as reasons that the Beloit market is so hot right now.”
Cronin said she’s had to deal with some old stereotypes regarding the city.
“I’ve had people who were being relocated here tell me that from everything they’ve heard, they should look to live anywhere but Beloit,” Cronin said. “And I tell them that I would be happy to show them homes in Janesville or Milton, but I encourage them to spend two hours with me in Beloit. My goal is to show them that there’s no longer the stigma about Beloit there used to be. We have a beautiful downtown and some beautiful homes here. I’m not a homegrown person, but I am a true believer in Beloit, and that’s not something I ever necessarily thought I would say.”
New home construction on both sides of the border is going briskly as well.
“In Beloit, it seems like they just can’t put them up fast enough,” Cronin said. “There’s a lot of new development up by Turner High School, but also over in Eagle’s Ridge. There are several new builds going in north of (Highway) 14 that’s getting a lot of interest. I’ve talked to builders who would put up one home per year that are now going crazy, and that’s surprising to me, because the cost of lumber has skyrocketed over the last six months. But they keep building, and people keep buying, because a lot of people would still like a new home if they can get one.”