Regional Activity

Housing Market Profiles

Janesville-Beloit, Wisconsin

The Janesville-Beloit metropolitan area, coterminous with Rock County, is located approximately 40 miles south of Madison and 100 miles northwest of Chicago. The Janesville-Beloit population has been growing 3 to 4 percent annually since the 1990 Census, reaching 152,300 by 2000, a gain of 12,800 during the 10-year period. Janesville accounted for 58 percent of the area’s growth. Net in-migration, the result of available moderately priced housing, accounted for 40 percent of the population gain during the 1990s. Since 2000 population has increased by an estimated 35,000.

Nonfarm employment in the area rose to 70,500, a 17-percent increase between 1990 and 2000. Since 2000, however, employment declined 4 percent to 67,500. Hardest hit has been the manufacturing sector, which was down 15 percent due to layoffs and plant closings. Employment in area construction and service-producing sectors increased by 3 and 4 percent, respectively. For the 12-month period ending June 2003 average nonfarm employment was 68,900, up 600 compared with the previous 12-month period.

Janesville-Beloit’s sales housing market was strong in the first 6 months of 2003. The REALTORS® Association of South Central Wisconsin reports that 1,050 new and existing homes were sold in the metropolitan area during the first half of 2003, up 15 percent from the same period in 2002. According to local sources entry-level and move-up homebuyers, attracted by historically low mortgage interest rates and low local home prices, boosted homes sales in the metropolitan area. Homes priced between $100,000 and $150,000 accounted for the bulk of sales activity, and slower sales activity occurred at the higher price ranges. The metropolitan area’s median sales price of $105,000, a slight increase from $104,000 in 2002, compares favorably to the median sales price of $185,000 in neighboring Dane County. Janesville’s price advantage has attracted a significant number of buyers who work in nearby Madison and in Walworth County, Wisconsin.

Overall the Janesville-Beloit metropolitan area rental market has become somewhat soft. Currently the rental vacancy rate for the area is estimated at 8.2 percent and 9 percent in the city of Janesville. The softer market conditions are the result of an increase in new units during a time of declining demand due to job losses and low mortgage interest rates, which have attracted renters to homeownership. Beloit’s rental vacancy rate is estimated at 8.2 percent, unchanged from the 2000 Census.

Average rents in new projects in Janesville and Beloit are $595 for one-bedroom units and $715 for two-bedroom units. Existing projects see average rents at $515 for one-bedroom units and $570 for two-bedroom units. In comparison average rents in the Madison metropolitan area for existing projects are $630 for one-bedroom units and $840 for two-bedroom units. Rent concessions ranging from 1 to 2 months’ free rent are common throughout the Janesville-Beloit metropolitan area. Although developers are hopeful for improvement the rental market is expected to remain slightly soft for the near future.

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