Homes in Muskego and New Berlin are commanding high prices and selling quickly, local real estate experts are saying.

All Muskego property owners should learn from the city in a couple of weeks as to how much their holdings have increased in value. The city is in the midst of revaluing all the property in the city for property tax purposes. Letters bearing the new values are slated to go out May 22.

New Berlin property owners will find out how much more their properties are worth next year when New Berlin does its revaluation.

Muskego homes seem to have been selling at a clip that is about 14 percent higher than their assessed value, said Michael Weymier who is with Tyler Technologies, the firm that handles Muskego's assessments.

Values up, rate down

But even if a home gets an assessment that is 14 percent higher, it doesn't necessarily mean higher property taxes. All things being equal, including property tax levies from governments and schools, higher values from a citywide revaluation will mean the property tax rate will fall, he said.

The end result is that the actual number of tax dollars paid in by individual property owners would remain the same. That doesn't hold true for properties where their assessments have been too low, however. Their owners will end up paying more, reflecting their true share of the property tax burden.

Meanwhile, homes in New Berlin have been selling at roughly 7 to 8 percent more than their 2015 assessed value, said city assessor Paul Koller. That means as much as a $16,000 increase in the value of a home assessed at $200,000 in 2015. That 7 to 8 percent over assessed values compares to about 4 percent over assessed in 2015, he said. So, homes are commanding higher prices.

Those higher home prices are at least partly a reflection of how few homes are on the market, the real estate experts said.

"There's a shortage of inventory (homes up for sale), even more than last year," said Kristel Sikora, a Realtor in the Shorewest New Berlin office. She said she didn't think she would ever see so few homes on the market as she did last year, but this year there are even fewer, she said.

Real estate broker Dan Warwick who has been in the real estate business for 31 years said the number of listings fell 27 percent last year from the previous year, based on Multiple Listing Service data. And this year, listings are down nearly 2 percent from last year, said Warwick who is with the Re/Max Legacy Muskego office on Janesville Road.

Seller's market

That shortage has led to lots of interest in the homes that are there, they said.

"I had 97 showings of a two-bedroom in two weeks in New Berlin," Sikora said. Buyers have to be quick if they want their dream home.

"People have to be able to drop what they are doing and look at the listing"

Warwick said he preps his buyers, urging them to see homes their first day on the market, and if they like them to make an offer immediately. Even so, they typically will be up against other offers, he said.

"You've got to prepare buyers for the competition," Warwick said.

Pushing the ceiling

Conscious that it's a seller's market, real estate agents are asking top dollar, he said. Agents can tell they are pushing the top of the market when appraisals come back lower than the asking price, as has been happening more since the recession, as agents try to get the best prices they can, he said.

The average price for Muskego homes sold this year is $315,000 he said. The average time it took to sell was 43 days, he said.

Higher prices mean taxbases that are recovering from the recession.

In fact, New Berlin has completely climbed out of the trough it was in, Koller said. The New Berlin taxbase started its slide in 2009, a little after other areas. The taxbase stood at about $4.9 billion before properties starting losing value in what is being called the Great Recession.

The city hit bottom in 2012 after losing about $300 million or 6 percent of its value, he said. Then it started to rise until it now stands at $4.96 billion, Koller said.

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