The latest property assessment by the City of Milwaukee showed a continued improvement in the residential and commercial real estate markets.

Total residential and commercial value combined for the 2019 valuation is $28.1 Billion, just 2% under the 2008 pre-Recession peak, and up 5% from 2018. Commercial property values increased 7.7%, driven by downtown development as well as growth in large residential development in Districts 6, 12, and 14. Higher growth in commercial value city-wide compared to residential can help reduce property tax increases for homeowners.

“Milwaukee continues on an upward economic trajectory,” said Mayor Tom Barrett. “This increase in assessed values shows the investments we have made in Milwaukee’s neighborhoods are paying off.”

City-wide, the average detached home’s value increased 2.9%, to $111,979. Combined with a 4.9% increase in condo values, the average residential property value is up 3.2%, to $117,601.

Every Aldermanic district saw an increase in total and average residential value. Districts 15, 6, 12, and 1 saw the greatest percentage increases, ranging from 12.2% in District 15 to 6.1% in District 1. The neighborhoods surrounding Sherman Park increased 2% from 2018. Total commercial property value also increased in every district.

Also encouraging is the growth in overall assessable sales activity. So-called “arms length” sales are used as the base for assessments, ensuring distressed sales like foreclosures do not artificially deflate values.

Residential arms-length sales as a share of total sales have tripled since 2012, reflecting the decrease in foreclosed property on the market and increased interest in home buying across the city.

As Mayor Barrett highlighted in his State of the City speech, sales of City-owned property since 2014 represent over $100 million of the 2019 residential assessed value. Those sales are concentrated in Districts 6, 7, and 15.

Individual homeowners are likely to see some change in their assessment. Approximately two thirds of all property owners had increased values, and approximately one third decreased. Milwaukee conducts an annual valuation of property to make sure tax assessments are as fair as they can be, and track closely to market trends.

The mailing of assessments on April 19 began the “open book” period, where property owners can ask contact the Assessor’s Office with questions regarding the value of their home and file appeals if they disagree with the assessment. Assessments must be appealed in writing by May 22.

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Lee Matz