Yesterday we attended our monthly Door County Board of REALTORS luncheon and Bill Malkasian, President of the Wisconsin REALTORS Association, spoke to us. I love listening to Bill as he is always so well informed. I wanted to share with you some of the information he shared with us.

Bill emphasized the fact that real estate is "local". Madison, WI market is not the same as the Door County, WI market. Unfortunately, the press does not always report it that way. It is an important concept to understand and now more than ever, it is very important to choose a REALTOR who is familiar with the market and can interpret it for you. I will talk more about that later, and exactly how you can choose that REALTOR.

Bill stated that there is a 13.5 month inventory average in the State; it is far different in Door County. The upper end second home market, he said, is the most challenged of all categories in the State (Door County had more of these sales in ’10 than ’09 and you can always see the whole picture all the way back to ’08 on Bill indicated 2011 will be a better year because of the certainty of the tax code as it relates to capital gains. In 2110, the average sales price for the State was $189,900. He explained Freddie and Fannie cease to exist, Bill said, "they will exist in 5 years and be replaced due to privatization."

While Bill and I know you’d like a better report – Bill said to expect flat line growth in ’11. There are 35 newspapers left in Wisconsin; 17 are owned by Gannett. Interest rates may go down again a bit later this Spring and this is a great time to buy. Finally, Bill shared that Wisconsin has a low unemployment rate of 7.8% compared to the 9.4% US rate.

Lastly, I want to share I am the proud recipient of the Betty Graf Scholarship Award for 2011 and will use that assistance to take the Certified Property Distressed Expert course in February so that I can better assist my clients who are upside down and close to or in foreclosure.