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NEWS STORIES

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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 IN OTHER NEWS

TOWN OF RINGLE - Emergency responders got a report of a garage fire around 12:43 a.m. Saturday morning in the Town of Ringle according to the Marathon County Sheriff's Office.

When firefighters arrived to the 11000 block of Oasis Drive, the unattached garage was engulfed in flames. The sheriff's office reports the garage, which was used as a workshop, is a total loss. 

Ringle Fire, along with Wausau Fire, Easton Fire, and SAFER Fire, were able to extinguish the fire before the home became totally involved. But the side of the home does have significant damage.

The fire department and sheriff's office are investigating the cause of the fire. 



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RHINELANDER - Dozens of people geared up for golf with top of the line, professional golfing equipment at Northwood Golf Club in Rhinelander Saturday.

The annual demo day let people try out the best clubs, grips and hedges on the market.

General Manager Kyle Christian says it's a great way to bring tourists to Rhinelander.

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RHINELANDER - Some people bought a brat Saturday in support of a Northwoods organization. Wild Instincts held a brat sale fundraiser outside of Trig's in Rhinelander.

Volunteers sold brats, hot dogs, and even veggie dogs for the sale. 

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MILWAUKEE - Law enforcement officers are looking for 25-year-old inmate Tasir Bhatti who escaped from the Marshall Sherrer Correctional Center in Milwaukee. 

Bhatti was serving a five-year sentence for drug charges. The Department of Corrections reported the inmate's escape to the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office and the Milwaukee Police Department.

Bhatti is 5'9, 179 lbs., and has brown hair and eyes. Anyone with information regarding Bhatti's location should immediately contact law enforcement. 

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MERRILL - A Northwoods school pulled off a big surprise on Friday to honor a few veterans. After months of planning, students and staff at Kate Goodrich Elementary got to see the payoff of all their hard work.

"It was like kind of overwhelming," said Wolfgang Lenk. 

Lenk, Todd Annis, and Randy Perry had no idea they would be the guests of honor.

"To see all these kids and knowing how hard they worked selling all this, and now your name comes up that you're one of the three recipients, it was awesome," said Annis. 

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TOMAHAWK - The first thing you notice about Tomahawk Police Chief Al Elvins is his Southern drawl.

He lived in Georgia for years.

The second thing you notice is just as out of place in northern Wisconsin. It's the black and yellow. Everywhere.

In the land of the green and gold, Packers country, Elvins is a diehard Pittsburgh Steelers fan.

He'll take you outside the Tomahawk Police Department to show you the guard posts.

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TOMAHAWK - Two months ago, Governor Scott Walker signed a $100 million school safety plan into law. The bill includes grants specifically for security upgrades in schools. 

The Tomahawk School District plans to apply for a grant and hopes to use feedback from the community to come up with a plan. The school has to submit the grant by June 8. 

The Tomahawk School District wanted to start a conversation with its community about school safety. Earlier this spring, it hosted safety roundtable discussions to do just that. 

"We thought we could get more information from our communities," said Superintendent Terry Reynolds. 

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