How many buyers are looking for homes in Fond du Lac? Too many to count – Fond du Lac Reporter

Home sales are booming in Fond du Lac as buyers compete for properties currently on the market.

Fond du Lac’s real estate remains a hot commodity this summer in a banner year for residential sales.

Fewer homes are available in the city and surrounding area and more people are looking to buy, driving prices upward. According to the city assessor’s office, many offers to purchase are coming in at tens of thousands of dollars over asking price.

In May alone, the office recorded 120 real estate transfers, compared to 87 in the same month last year. Through May of this year, 525 real estate transfers were conducted compared with 485 during that same period in 2020.

In his two decades working in the industry, Kevin Jones, co-owner of Adashun Jones Real Estate, said he’s never seen anything like the current market. 

“We’re seeing multiple offers and opportunities for sellers to choose the offer that presents the best outcome for their goals of selling quickly and seamlessly,” Jones said. “Often times the sellers are giving each buyer the chance to make their best effort at buying the property by bidding more for the home that they want and reducing the number of contingencies in their offer.”

On average, Adashun Jones is currently seeing three accepted offers on properties each day and homes are selling within a couple weeks.

Buyers who missed out on a property purchase due to bidding wars are learning they need to have their housing homework done prior to pursuing a purchase, Jones said. Record low interest rates are driving buyers to move swiftly to get the property they want, with 30-year fixed-rate mortgages dipping to 2.96% in May.

According to Wisconsin Realtor’s Association, existing home sales and median prices rose by double-digit margins in May compared to their levels 12 months earlier, when the economy was in lockdown.

Over the past 15 years, the local real estate market has seen a steady increase in sales from its low point in 2009, when only 175 homes sold that year, according to WRA data. Within that time frame, 2017 shows the greatest number of home sales at 1,479, up slightly from last year, when 1,443 homes were sold in Fond du Lac County.

Locally, homes prices continue to trend upward by about 10 to 15%, Jones said. WRA records show Fond du Lac’s median home price at around $159,000 last year. This year so far the average hovers around $170,000 with May’s median home price rising to $187,500. 

‘It’s a market where everyone can win’

Kevin Jones, co-owner of Adashun Jones Real Estate

The hot sellers market is not so much due to a housing shortage, Jones believes, but the pace in which transactions are occurring. Buyers and sellers are moving faster than the inventory can build-up. 

“It’s more perception that reality because everything is selling so quickly,” he said. “Yet it’s a market where everyone wins because buyers get a historically low interest rate locked in on a long-term investment.”

On Wednesday, Zillow, a website which aggregates real estate listings from multiple realtors and sellers, showed about 50 home listings within the city of Fond du Lac, ranging in price from about $74,000 to $500,000.

As for buyers, Jones said he is seeing more relocation to the Fond du Lac area from other cities and states than ever before, mainly due to job relocation. The ability to work from home or remotely opens up more possibilities.

“We have a beautiful area with a lot to offer in terms of Lake Winnebago, recreational activities and being centrally located in the state,” Jones said. “It’s a quick drive to see the Bucks, Badgers, Brewers or Packers without as much traffic and noise that some larger cities might have.”

 The second home market on Lake Winnebago has also been better than ever, he said, with more lake homes selling to both local and out-of-the-area buyers.

“People are in a stronger position to afford a home, after maybe waiting for a few years to buy,” Jones said. “More demand for housing is driving up rental rates which in turn drive more people to look for a place of their own.”

Many home sellers are baby boomers who are starting to age out of their homes, where they have remained longer in the past few years. Low re-financing rates made it more affordable for them to stay in their homes.

“That’s one of the reasons were are seeing a rise in condo buying — they are transitioning because of the maintenance convenience and condos tend to be the right size for a couple looking to downsize,” Jones said.

Appraisers kept busy with paperwork

When the real estate market picked up around May 2020, so did the need for appraisals, said Frank Adashun, another co-owner of the company. Today they are at historic levels due to the high volume of real estate transactions, refinancing and quick turnaround times.

According to local lenders, a three wee turnaround time is normal, due in part, to the limited number of certified and licensed appraisers who cover the Fond du Lac and surrounding area, Adashun said, who has been putting in late nights trying to keep up.

Often, lenders and other clients are offering “rush” fees to push their appraisal request ahead of others in the pipeline.

Government regulations after the market crash in 2008 have made it extremely difficult for new people to get into the appraisal field, he points out. Currently, over 50% of appraisers are over the age of 50.

Hence, appraisal fees have increased significantly over the past couple of years. Typically, fees range from $450 to $1500 for a single-family appraisal report.

“Appraising has become quite challenging in recent months due to the requirements, combined with many properties selling thousands above the list price.” he said. “I was involved in a recent transaction in the Fond du Lac area where the sale price was $75,000 above the original asking price.”

The real estate company is also experiencing a record year in custom homes sale, with over 20 homes built and approximately 12 million in overall new construction volume. 

The housing supply shortage is not going to last forever, Jones said. The market keeps moving, which makes for never a dull moment in the world of real estate. 

“It can be challenging when multiple offers are coming in on a property.” Jones said. “In the end it reflects a stable market, with buyers glad they have found a place to live and sellers thrilled with prices they are getting.”

Contact Sharon Roznik at 920-907-7936 or sroznik@gannett.com. Follow her on Facebook at facebook.com/reporterroz/

Frank Adashun, co-owner of Adashun Jones Real Estate

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