Overview of Wisconsin Mortgages
Famous for its farms, lakeshores, breweries and football, Wisconsin has a lot to offer its residents. America’s Dairyland ranks roughly in the middle of the U.S. in terms of both size and population. Mortgage rates in Wisconsin used to be well above national averages, but rates have dropped in recent years. Wisconsin county-level conforming loan limits are uniform, while FHA limits vary more.
|30 year fixed||3.28%||3.28%||0.00|
|15 year fixed||2.96%||2.96%||0.00|
|30 yr fixed mtg refi||3.44%||3.44%||0.00|
|15 yr fixed mtg refi||3.06%||3.06%||0.00|
|7/1 ARM refi||2.88%||3.63%||-0.75|
|15 yr jumbo fixed mtg refi||3.13%||2.56%||+0.56|
National Mortgage Rates
Historical Mortgage Rates in Wisconsin
Wisconsin Mortgage Rates Quick Facts
- Median Home Value: $197,200 (U.S. Census Bureau)
- Loan Funding Rate: 64.51% (CFPB)
- Homeownership Rate: 66.1% (St. Louis Fed)
- Median Monthly Homeownership Costs: $1,430 (U.S. Census Bureau)
Prior to 2009, mortgage rates in Wisconsin were quite high when compared to national averages. However, over the last decade or so, rates have shrunk a bit, falling closer in line with nationwide marks.
A financial advisor in Wisconsin can help you plan for the homebuying process. Financial advisors can also help with investing and financial planning - including tax, retirement and estate planning - to make sure you are preparing for the future.
Wisconsin Historic Mortgage Rates*
|Year||Wisconsin Rate||U.S. Rate|
*The FHFA stopped reporting new data in 2018.
Wisconsin Mortgages Overview
Wisconsin homes are generally affordable compared to many other parts of the U.S. The median home value here is $197,200, while the U.S. median is $240,500, according to Census data.
The conforming loan limit for every Wisconsin county is the standard $548,250. FHA loan limits see more variation, though, as seven counties have a cap above the standard $356,362. They are Kenosha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Pierce, St. Croix, Washington and Waukesha.
Conforming and FHA Loan Limits by County
|County||Conforming Limit||FHA Limit|
|Fond Du Lac||$548,250||$356,362|
Wisconsin was actually one of the very first states to require sellers to disclose property defects. Those laws still stand, and sellers must fill buyers in on the status of sewage disposal, insulation, the quality of the home structure and common interests like homeowners’ association fees. While this protects buyers, a home inspection is still the best way to feel confident in a property purchase.
30-Year Fixed Mortgage Rates in Wisconsin
If you are in the market for a mortgage in the Badger State, you will inevitably come across the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage. This is the most common home loan option for buyers. It offers lower payments and a fixed interest rate. It can be easier to budget for your monthly mortgage payments with this home loan because your payments will remain the same for the duration of the loan, unless you refinance.
You can also choose a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage which will allow you to pay off your loan in half the time and you’ll pay less in interest, but you can expect your monthly payments to be higher.
The average Wisconsin rate for a fixed 30-year mortgage is 2.86% (Zillow, Jan. 2021).
Wisconsin Jumbo Loan Rates
Wisconsin county conforming loan limits are all at the standard $548,250. This tells you that homes in the state are generally affordable. If you take out a loan to pay for your dream home anywhere in Wisconsin and that loan is bigger than $548,250, you will have what is known as a “jumbo loan.” Jumbo loans are loans that exceed the conforming loan limit of a particular county.
If you do need to take out a home loan that’s great than $548,250 in Wisconsin, you should be aware that jumbo loans have higher interest rates. Conforming loans can be re-sold on the secondary mortgage market and are subject to normal interest rates, but because jumbo loans are riskier for lenders to issue, they are accompanied by larger interest rates. That might be reason enough to stick with a home that fits more comfortably within your budget.
The average 30-year fixed jumbo loan rate in Wisconsin is 3.25% (Zillow, Jan. 2021).
Wisconsin ARM Loan Rates
Adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) stand in contrast to fixed-rate mortgages in that their interest rate changes over the life of the loan. Generally, an adjustable-rate mortgage will have a lower interest rate for an introductory period of one, three, five, seven or 10 years. Once that period comes to an end, the interest rate is free to go up or down, but it usually rises.
Before you decide whether an ARM is the right home loan option for you, you should be aware that the terms of the loan will specify how many times the interest rate can change, as well as the maximum possible level that it can reach. So you are not totally at the whim of the lender; you know from the get-go what the interest rate cap is.
The average rate for a 5/1 ARM in Wisconsin is 2.94% (Zillow, Jan. 2021).
Wisconsin Mortgage Resources
Badger State buyers can work with state and national programs to help reduce the financial load of buying a house.
The Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) has a wide range of programs available for buyers:
- Easy Close Advantage Down Payment Assistance - Buyers who qualify for a WHEDA loan may also be eligible for closing cost and down payment assistance in the form of a low cost, fixed- interest rate loan.
- WHEDA Tax Advantage - Those who are eligible for a WHEDA loan can apply for the tax advantage program, which cuts down on the amount of federal taxes a buyer owes by claiming up to 40% of annual mortgage interest as a tax credit.
- First Time Homebuyer Advantage - There are fixed-rate mortgages available which are priced below the standard mortgage rate for first-time homebuyers. Veterans and buyers in select areas are also eligible for this program.
|Resource||Problem or Issue||Who Qualifies|
|Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority||Homebuyer program for affordable loans, down payment assistance, tax credits and home rehabilitation assistance.||Eligible homebuyers who fit an income limit or are purchasing in a targeted neighborhood.|
|USDA Rural Development - Single family loans||Offers payment assistance to increase an applicant’s repayment ability.||Applicants must be without decent, safe and sanitary housing; Be unable to obtain a loan from other resources on terms and conditions that can reasonably be expected to meet; Agree to occupy the property as your primary residence; Have the legal capacity to incur a loan obligation; Meet citizenship or eligible noncitizen requirements; Not be suspended or debarred from participation in federal programs.|
Wisconsin is eligible for the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development program, which helps residents in rural communities secure affordable housing. Qualifying residents can get loans or grants to put toward buying a home or repairing their current home.
Wisconsin Mortgage Taxes
Before you buy or sell a house in Wisconsin, be aware that there are taxes on real estate transfers. In the Badger State, those taxes come to $0.30 per $100, or 0.3%. Wisconsin sellers usually pay this tax.
One perk of homeownership is that owners are allowed to deduct the mortgage interest they pay throughout the year from their taxable income when they file their federal income taxes. Wisconsin homeowners can also take that deduction when they are filing state taxes.
Wisconsin Mortgage Refinance
If you’re looking to refinance in Wisconsin, the first thing to remember is that you have options. You can work with the lender who issued your original mortgage to come up with a new plan that better fits your current situation. You are also free to look around at other lenders’ refinance rates and see if you can find something more competitive.
Other resources in Wisconsin are the High Loan-to-Value Refinance Option from Fannie Mae. These were created to essentially replace the now defunct Home Affordable Refinance Program, or HARP.
Best Places To Get A Mortgage
SmartAsset’s interactive map highlights the best counties in the U.S. (and in each state) for securing a home mortgage. Hover over states and counties to see rankings and data points for each region, or use the map’s tabs to view the top counties for each of the factors included in our analysis.
Methodology In order to determine the best places in the country to get a mortgage, our study compared four factors, including overall borrowing costs, likelihood of securing a mortgage, property taxes and annual mortgage payments.
To calculate the overall borrowing costs, we analyzed the expected costs throughout the first five years for a $200,000 mortgage with a 20% down payment, including closing costs. We calculated the ease of getting a mortgage as the ratio of mortgage applications to mortgage originations (secured mortgages) in each county. Annual mortgage payments are a measure of the annual principal and interest payments for a $200,000 loan in that location using average mortgage rates in each county.
Finally, we ranked locations based on these four factors, giving equal weight to each factor. The areas with the lowest average rankings are the best places to get a mortgage.
Sources: Mortgage Bankers Association, US Census Bureau 2018 5-Year American Community Survey, Informa, Bankrate, government websites, SmartAsset