State report shows Rock County to be in biggest need for additional housing

A report done by the Wisconsin Realtors Association shows Rock County has the largest need for additional housing developments.

According to the study, for every home built in Rock County between 2006 and 2017, 1.7 families moved to the area.

“Overall, the demand for new homes, as well as existing homes, is great,” said Doug Scott, owner of Janesville’s Advantage Homes. “There is a bit of inventory, not an overabundance of inventory. Typically, when a builder finishes a home, it doesn’t sit.”

Scott and other home builders are preparing for this weekend’s Janesville Parade of Homes, where certain newly built homes will be available for purchase. Scott is hoping one home, built in Milton, will sell.

“Interest rates are great right now,” he said. “Unemployment is good. So with jobs and interest rates, many people are building or buying existing homes.”

Yet the lack of homes has hurt cities like Janesville that are trying to attract businesses to the area.

“If you don’t have the housing, our companies, no matter how cool or profitable they are, or if they’re on the upswing, they’re going to have challenges attracting good labor or quality team members,” said Gale Price, the economic development director for Janesville.

Price said one project, a 260-unit development near the interstate, is already underway but will take close to four years to complete. He said in the meantime, it’s about convincing other developers to build in the city.

“Janesville’s committed to trying to move forward as much housing as reasonably possible,” he said. “We’ve finished one project and gotten that underway, and we’ve got four more that we’re talking to, and we’re hoping that’s going to meet a lot of the need.”

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