Northwoods home sales and interest ratesSubmitted: 06/20/2013
Story By Adam Fox

Northwoods home sales and interest rates
RHINELANDER - We can often judge how the economy is doing, by the strength of the housing market.

Things have been rough since the housing bubble burst in 2007.

Buyers and sellers are just starting to feel good again.

But how long will that feeling last?

Dave Olson's house has been for sale for a year.

He hasn't hired a broker.

But he thinks this is the summer to sell.

"You know that there are people out there buying homes, so there are more people looking than maybe what there was a year ago," Olson said.

That's optimism that homeowners in the Northwoods haven't felt lately.

Kim Brixius has been selling homes for 16 years.

This winter was her best ever.

She thinks that's because a historic opportunity is almost closed for good.

"The interest rates and the historically low values," Brixius said. "I think it's driving people to realize if they wait much longer, they're gonna miss out."

Interest rates are historically low because the Federal Reserve is buying bonds to keep them there.

But Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke says if the economy continues to improve, they will slowly step back.

"If the incoming data supports the view that the economy is able to sustain a reasonable cruising speed we will ease the pressure on the accelerator by gradually reducing the pace of purchases,"Bernanke said.

Brixius thinks that would bring Wisconsin home sales to a screeching halt.

"All that could put the brakes on the buyer situation, so then sellers may be waiting a lot longer than they thought,"Brixius said.

Regardless, Olson is staying positive.

"I'm very optimistic," Olson said. "I'm thinking one that the market should be getting better; it has to be getting better."

And hopefully the Northwoods won't have to experience another housing burst anytime soon.

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RHINELANDER - The ground won't thaw for another month or so, but you can start planning your garden now.

You'll have to wait until mid-May to plant flowers, but you can get away with some vegetable seeds.

Bare root plants are also a good option for early-spring.

Those include apple trees, blueberry and raspberry bushes.

"We can help out here when you come out and make sure you get everything you need to get started.

It's mostly getting it established in the ground and you can just let it grow, says Beth Hanson.

Hanson Garden Village's Spring Preview is this Saturday and open to the public.

If you want to find out more about their spring planting classes, click below.

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The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection announced the quarantine will take effect March 30th.

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"We really kind of want to make our home here," Bauman said.

Over the last few weeks, Bauman and her husband Elvis transformed 146 North Brown Street in Rhinelander from office space into a storefront for their store "Unique Creations."

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Despite the near freezing temperatures, a team of two wanted to give you a reason to smile Tuesday.

Hometown Chiropractic chiropractor Grace Nash stood along Highway 47 in Rhinelander with her coworker holding up green signs with positive messages like 'Smile it's contagious.'

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Minocqua's Color Run Fundraiser is a 3K and 5K race for Arbor Vitae-Woodruff and MJ1 schools.

The race is one of the schools' biggest fundraisers for field trips, additional school supplies and equipment.

The Color Run raised almost $20,000 last year.

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Paul Webster is one of the lucky players who won $50,000 playing Powerball from last week's drawing.

Webster bought his ticket at Wagner's Westside Shell in Rhinelander.

Shell Cashier Brenda Novak says she doesn't know Webster, but hopes to meet him soon.

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RHINELANDER - Looking back on his 28 years as airport director, Joe Brauer says he has a lot to be proud of. 

"When we got the disabled passenger lift, the non-motorized one, we were very, very proud of that," said Brauer, who's worked as the airport director for 28 years. He's also been in the airline business for 20 years. 

Now, the longtime Rhinelander-Oneida County Airport director will be passing things off to a familiar face. 

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