Wisconsin Construction Lags Says UW Researcher

Oct 28, 2019

Credit Pixabay.com mvuorenmaa

A UW-Madison Economics professor reported  last week that real estate accounts for a large chunk of Wisconsin's economy, but a number of factors are curtailing growth.

Dr. Mark Eppli penned the report “Impact of Real Estate on Wisconsin’s Economy" for the Wisconsin Realtors Association.

The report finds 15 percent of the state’s Gross Domestic Product is directly attributable to construction and real estate services. This construction and the real estate industry second only to manufacturing in total impact on the state’s economy. It also accounts for 380,000 jobs.

Dr. Eppli says while the industries are strong, his findings are the construction industry trails most other states...

"...We're about 26 percent below that of the nation as a whole. I think one of the things we need to do in Wisconsin is provide interesting and innovative and engaging places for our residents to live work and play...."

He says legislators need to think about Wisconsin's lagging construction industry as a policy perspective. Eppli says Wisconsin has no national builders here and he says it's difficult for developers here to get land loans. He says the larger developers are able to secure capital to build. He says land, labor and legislation are involved...

"...are the limited number of develop able, available lots in most communities. It is limiting the number of new homes in those communities. We have a shortage available relative to the demand, especially in construction. One of the things we can think about there is training at tech schools and apprenticeships..."

Eppli says restrictions are also slowing construction..

"....A little over 24 percent of a new home is attributable to regulatory costs. There is some need for OSHA and some oversight. But some of the regulatory costs make it difficult to develop and particularly here in Wisconsin where the price point is a little bit lower..."

The full report is on the Wisconsin Realtors Association website.