Development Boosts Milwaukee's Housing Market, But Segregation Remains Prominent

May 25, 2017

It’s hard not to see the many changes currently happening in the city of Milwaukee. From the torn-up streets making way for the new Milwaukee Streetcar, to the ongoing construction of the new Bucks Arena - the city is making a visible transformation, unlike anything seen in recent decades.

And it’s not just Milwaukeeans who are taking notice. U.S. News and World Report just ranked Milwaukee as one of the top three up-and-coming places to live in the country.

"There's opportunity here and there's people that are definitely interested in living in the city, and I think... with the new hotels and new developments for luxury units, there's proof there that the city is on the rise once again," says Sam Radbil, content manager and senior communications managers at Abodo, a Madison-based startup company that lists apartments and analyzes housing market data. 

Abodo's recent analysis of renting and buying trends in Milwaukee found that rents have risen significantly over the last 5 years. Meanwhile, mortgages have actually gone down. These numbers, the analysis says, correspond with the amount of renters and property owners investing in Milwaukee. 

While the numbers are similar to other cities in the U.S., the analysis also found a large racial disparity in those who rent and those who own homes in the city. Although the study notes the largest demographic in Milwaukee is black or African-American people at 38.5%, their white counterparts (who make up 36.1% of the population) makeup the majority of homeowners. 

"White people owned about 59.3% and rented for about 34.2%," Radbil explains. Black residents, on the other hand, make up 24.7% of property owners in the city and constitute 46.1% of renters in Milwaukee.