EDITOR’S NOTE: In the week before the presidential election, RealtyTrac is releasing a series of housing articles — dubbed the ‘Swing State Housing Scorecard’ — taking a closer look at eight swing states representing 95 electoral votes — Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin. These states are considered tossups and crucial to winning the White House. The articles will evaluate how each state will lean if voters choose a candidate based on whether the housing market is better off (Obama) or worse off (Romney) than four years ago.
Swing State Housing Scorecard: Wisconsin’s in Play for Romney
Wooing Wisconsin voters continues to be a top priority for both presidential campaigns as the race remains very tight for the Badger State’s prized 10 electoral votes.
The Wisconsin electorate is far more polarized this year, particularly after the contentious and failed recall attempt of Republican Gov. Scott Walker in June, defeating challenger Tom Barret in the recall election. Although Obama carried the state by 14 percentage points in 2008, Gov. Walker’s political organization to fend off the recall effort by labor unions is now the machinery behind Gov. Romney’s on-the-ground operation. Moreover, Gov. Romney’s running mate, native son Representative Paul D. Ryan, hails from Janesville, Wis., which could help flip the state into the GOP column.
According to RealtyTrac’s Swing State Housing Scorecard, the five key data metrics impacting the housing market are average home prices, unemployment, foreclosure inventory, foreclosure starts and percent of distressed sales. Wisconsin housing market is worse off compared to four years ago based on all five of RealtyTrac’s Swing State Housing Scorecard metrics.
First of all, foreclosure starts are up a whopping 583 percent in Wisconsin, growing from 204 foreclosure starts in September 2008 to 1,393 in September 2012. Secondly, the percent of distressed sales in Wisconsin has skyrocketed by 161 percent, growing from 8 percent of all sales in the second quarter of 2008 to 22 percent of all sales in Q2 2012. Moreover, foreclosure inventory spiked 114 percent from 16,671 distressed properties in September 2008 to 35,622 properties in September 2012.
Since President Obama was elected in 2008, the average sales price of a Wisconsin home has plunged 27 percent in four years, falling from $213,692 in July 2008 to $155,602 in July 2012. Wisconsin’s unemployment is lower than the national average. But unemployment has been creeping upward, growing 43 percent in the last four years, rising from 5.1 percent in September 2008 to 7.3 percent in September 2012.