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Strong housing market good sign for Eau Claire’s future

Published: Oct. 2, 2020 at 5:55 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -Lumber prices are up. Interest rates are down, and the housing market is booming.

While the COVID-19 pandemic ground some businesses to a halt, the demand for housing remains strong around Eau Claire. Paul Holzinger with the Chippewa Valley Home Builders Association said builders are still hard at work despite the pandemic.

“We’ve actually been quite busy this year," Holzinger said. "I think a lot of people are staying home and are looking at their current home and wanting to make improvements maybe they’re going to build a deck or put on an addition or even thinking about how important home is, so they are choosing to build new.”

A growing demand mixed with a slight decrease in supply has pushed the price of construction lumber up in the last three months, but these increases are offset by low interest rates.

The Fed plays an important role in controlling interest rates and has committed to keeping them low for the next three years. This is one of the reasons the housing market is up 9% in Chippewa and Dunn counties over last year.

It’s a sellers market right now meaning that more buyers are vying for the fewer available homes.

Deb Hanson is the president of the Realtors Association of Northwestern Wisconsin. She said COVID-19 hasn’t had much of an impact on real estate.

“Initially at the end of March beginning of April there was a very short blip of slowness," Hanson said. "But really it hasn’t slowed down that much at all in our market.”

For Hanson the biggest change she has seen from the pandemic is how real estate agents practice their business from wearing masks and using plenty of hand sanitizer.

The housing market reflects consumer confidence. Eau Claire’s strong housing market is a good sign for the community’s economic recovery from the pandemic.

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