Wisconsin Public Radio

Dane County Property Value Tops Milwaukee

For first time Dane bests Milwaukee in total county property value, study shows

By , Wisconsin Public Radio - Aug 15th, 2018 04:14 pm
State St. in downtown Madison, WI. Photo by Mariiana Tzotcheva.

State St. in downtown Madison, WI. Photo by Mariiana Tzotcheva.

According to a new report by the Wisconsin Policy Forum, Dane County’s property is valued at about $65 billion. That’s above pre-recession levels and marks the first time the county’s property is more valuable than property in Milwaukee County. Meanwhile, Milwaukee County property is still below pre-recession values.

Preliminary state data shows Madison’s total property value is about $28.7 billion. Milwaukee’s totals $28.3 billion.

For Milwaukee and Milwaukee County, that means less money it can collect through property taxes to fund local services. And the report finds Milwaukee County has fewer opportunities for further development because of past construction.

While the report finds Dane County has significant agricultural land that could be built up, Milwaukee County would have to increase property values by redeveloping underused property or appreciation.

Still, Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele said it’s hard to get on the path of gradually rising property values when a significant portion of residents live under the poverty line.

“And so the cost for government in terms of social services is a lot more and that tends to depress property values,” he said.

If the county could generate more in property taxes, Abele said, it would be able to invest more in local services.

“We would be able to, for instance, invest more in maintain public parks, roads, schools, etc., all of which contribute to higher property values,” he said.

Jason Stein, is research director of the Wisconsin Policy Forum, said there are a lot of other ways of looking at a city or county’s economic importance.

“Those can include the number of people that live there, the number of people that are employed there, the economic output in that area in terms of its gross domestic product,” he explained.

Milwaukee County has 144,000 more jobs than Dane County’s 315,000 and the report finds the Milwaukee region’s gross domestic product in 2016 was almost $101 billion, almost twice that of the Madison area.

But even as the report finds the city of Milwaukee is still one of the state’s economic engines, Madison and Dane County have been able to catch up to the region and build wealth through job and population growth.

Listen to the WPR report here.

Dane County’s Total Property Value Surpasses Milwaukee County For The First Time was originally published by Wisconsin Public Radio.

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