Doing More with Housing Data

The Greater Milwaukee Association of REALTORS® helped to pilot a new kind of housing report that has become an attention-grabber in the local media and an additional, no-cost benefit for association members.

The centerpiece of this quarterly “Home Affordability Report” is a chart that breaks down recent home sales by suburb (and, within Milwaukee, by section of the city). It gives the median monthly payment including principal, interest, and property taxes  in three price brackets (upper third, middle third, and lower third of homes sold) based on the municipal tax rate and the prevailing rate for a 20-year, fixed-rate loan with 20 percent down. 

The project involves a four-way partnership. GMAR’s contribution is to provide quarterly MLS data, a local marketing firm coordinates production, and a mortgage lender serves as the underwriting sponsor, covering costs of about $5,000 that include production of the report and payment for advertorial space in the Sunday Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. The newspaper devotes almost the entire cover of its Sunday Home section to the report, providing the space at a deeply discounted rate because the information is a magnet for both readers and advertisers.

“For our association, the report has provided a second round of free, positive media exposure following the usual coverage of our traditional quarterly press release,” says GMAR President Mike Ruzicka. “The newspaper tells us that readership is high. The story that runs with the chart features REALTORS® discussing the bright side of the current residential real estate market. Our sense is that the monthly payment data and the accompanying story have served to motivate some fence-sitters to get in the market.”

For more information, contact Curley Communication, at 262-785-9300.

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