There’s a the age old question everyone thinks about when they decide to move to a city in Wisconsin:
Should I buy a place or rent?
Well, we aren’t here today to solve that problem for you exactly. We are just assuming you’ll do the right thing and a buy a place 😉
And while we are happy to tell you the best place to live in Wisconsin, this analysis is going to tackle the question of the best place to buy a house as an investor. That is we are going to try and determine the up and coming cities in the Badger State.
To do that we are going to look at places in Wisconsin that are growing faster than average, but where home prices are below average. In every day terms, the ‘deals’.
The best deal in Wisconsin at the moment? That would be Rothschild according to our analysis.
Here’s a look at the top ten places to buy a home in Wisconsin:
- Rothschild (Photos | Homes)
- Kimberly (Photos | Homes)
- Weston (Homes)
- New Richmond (Photos | Homes)
- Menomonie (Photos | Homes)
- Columbus (Photos | Homes)
- Eau Claire (Photos | Homes)
- Mayville (Photos | Homes)
- Kaukauna (Photos | Homes)
- Evansville (Photos | Homes)
The methodology that wen’t into this can be a bit complicated, so we’ll break it down for you in as much detail as we can below.
If you’re not worried about finding a deal on good places to live, check out the most expensive places to live in Wisconsin and, for those of you on a budget, the cheapest places to live in Wisconsin.
How do you determine the best places to buy a home in Wisconsin?
We were in real estate for almost five years and have been working on this site for another three. Suffice is to say, we’ve put a lot of thought into what goes into finding a good place to buy a home.
So all that thinking has come to this moment where we get to spell out how we’d approach finding an up-and-coming place to live in Wisconsin. Put differently, the analysis will try to find places in Wisconsin with undervalued homes relative to pent up demand.
To do that we looked at the most recent American Community Survey Census data for 2012-2016 and compared it to the previous vintage (2011-2015). Specifically, we used the following criteria:
- Y-o-Y Change In Population (People want to live here)
- Y-o-Y Change In Median Home Prices (People are willing to pay for it)
- Home Prices Relative To The State Average (It’s still kinda cheap)
We want places that are growing, have seen home prices increase in recent years, and are still ‘cheap’ for Wisconsin with the following caveats:
- Home prices had to be within 20% of the state average (Much lower than that and you get to some of the more dangerous places)
- Home prices increased in the last year, and
- Above 5,000 people (Bigger cities have more data points)
So of the 773 cities and towns in Wisconsin, only 22 places made it through our initial filters to even be considered.
We then ranked each place from 1 to 22 for the criteria mentioned above with 1 being the best for that criteria. We averaged the rankings to create a ‘best place to buy’ index with the place having the lowest index being the best.
Turns out that Rothschild is the best potential gem in the not-so-rough in the Badger State.
Read on for more on these places.
Kimberly was originally known as The Cedars (after the Treaty of the Cedars). In 1889 it was renamed after John A. Kimberly (1838?1928), one of the co-founders of what is now the Kimberly-Clark Corporation.
The village was founded on March 11, 1996. Much of the area of the town of Weston was split off from it to form the new village of the same name.
4. New Richmond
New Richmond was founded in 1857. In August 2007, the town celebrated its sesquicentennial. The town was named after Richmond Day, the land surveyor responsible for plotting the town. With it being the second town in Wisconsin to take the name Richmond, the name was altered to New Richmond.
The earliest known residents of the area were people from the Trempealeau Hopewell Culture of the Middle Woodland Period (1-400 AD). Evidence from their culture includes a mound from the Wakanda Mounds Group in Wakanda Park, along the western shore of Lake Menomin. Most of these mounds are thought to be from Effigy Mound cultures from this time period. Artifacts from the Late Woodland Period (400-1000 AD) have also been uncovered. It is theorized that agricultural villages supported the population during summer months, transitioning to hunting and gathering from fall through spring. The next known population group is the Santee Dakota in the 1600s and 1700s, who engaged in conflicts with the Ojibwe people, who migrated west as refugees. Armed with European weapons, the Ojibwe pushed westward, eventually winning at the Battle of Kathio in 1770. The two tribes continued their warfare, eventually signing the 1825 First Treaty of Prairie du Chien, which made a border between the two just north of Menomonie, with the Dakota claiming the southern lands.
H. A. Whitney, a Yankee peddler from Vermont, moved to Columbus in 1845 and constructed the first wood frame store building in the community on the land where the Whitney now stands. The building served as a combination store/tavern/rooming house and post office, with Whitney as the first postmaster. In 1857, the building burned down and was replaced by the current Whitney Hotel in 1858. This cream brick, Italianate-style hotel’s third floor ballroom was heated by six wood-burning stoves. The local newspaper reported on a ball there in 1863, ‘if you ever hear of a ball by Fuller, ask no questions, but go at once, and enjoy yourselves, and for one night forget the ‘fear of the draft”.
7. Eau Claire
Mayville was platted in 1845, by the May brothers and others, and named for the former. A post office has been in operation at Mayville since 1847. The city was incorporated in 1885.
Kaukauna is a Native American word and in various dialects means ‘portage’, ‘long portage’, ‘place where pickerel are caught’, and ‘place of pike’. Prior to 1880, and shortly afterwards, Kaukauna was known as ‘The Lion on the Fox’. This nickname was changed to ‘The Electric City’ upon the completion of the hydroelectric plant. When the city was incorporated in 1885, it was separated from the adjacent rural parts of the town. The first recorded land deed in Wisconsin was assigned to Dominique Ducharme in 1793. He obtained 1,281 acres (518 ha) from the Menominee Indians for two barrels of rum and other gifts. These acres are the original site of the town of Kaukauna. The property was purchased by Charles A. Grignon (and recorded Dec. 18, 1828), who built a mansion on the river on Kaukauna’s north side. The home, which bears Grignon’s name, is operated as a museum by the Outagamie County Historical Society.
Evansville was first settled in the 1830s by New Englanders who were attracted to the area by its pristine wooded landscape and the placid Allen Creek. By 1855, the city recorded its first plat and was complete with homes, shops, and churches. Evansville is named for Dr. John M. Evans, a doctor and postmaster during the city’s early years.
There You Have It – The Best Places To Purchase A House In Wisconsin
There’s our analysis of the best places to buy a house in Wisconsin. And, to be clear, we aren’t necessarily saying these places are the best places to live, just that it looks like they might be in a couple of years based on the data.
In fact, every place in the following table meets our criteria, so even though it may not look super long, remember we started off with all 773 places in the state.
So if we’d could rent or buy in these cities, we’d definitely buy.
For more Wisconsin reading, check out:
- 10 Worst Places To Live In Wisconsin
- 10 Most Ghetto Cities In Wisconsin
- 10 Safest Places In Wisconsin
Detailed List Of The Best Places To Buy A Home In Wisconsin