Septic Systems 101

Wanna know a little bit, but not quite so much about septic systems.  Here is a brief primer!

Septic Systems 101

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Northwoods Average Home Values

Avg Home Sales April 2018

This is our first look at average home prices for the year.  I have included sales for the past 12 months in this chart.  Sales volume for the first quarter was up 14%.  Please realize that the sales volume in the cold weather months is quite low and is statistically insignificant.  However, we can still peak at it!


I have broken down the chart above into 4 groups.  Oneida County on and off water sales and Vilas County on and off water sales.  The on and off water sales are quite different from the on water sales.  Most of the “locals” are off water while most of the on water sales are sold as second homes.  Those are very different buying groups.  Sometimes the off water sales are quite brisk while the on water sales are not.  As you have heard from me many times, 70% of the waterfront homes are sold between July 1 and October 15.  Off water values have stabilized.  On water homes are finally picking up after years of little or no growth.  I would expect the on-water homes to grow at a rate close to 5% overall in 2018.

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Minocqua Area Home Sales March 2018

March 2018

We are still in the grip of winter.  In some selling seasons, we get what I will call an “early bounce” as people are eagerly awaiting summer.  I am not sure we are going to see that this year as it is very cold and snowy this late date.  We have a lot of snow and ice still.


Our beginning of the month look at home sales does show an improvement over 2017.  We sold 86 homes in March and this compares with 80 homes in March of 2017 (Up 7.5%) and 69 homes in February (up 24%).  Year-to-date we have sold 238 homes and this compares with 205 in 2017 (up 16%).  So, sales are up in the first quarter!  Now, if we can get Mother Nature headed in the right direction!

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Minocqua Area Lake Homes Sold

lake home sales

This is always one of my favorite charts!   This is a look at the number of lake homes sold in the last half of the year.  Most years, we sell almost 70% of lake homes in the last half.  2017 was no different.  If you study the data further you will find that we really move the huge majority of that 70% in the 4 months from July 1 to November 1.  Why?  Our heavy tourist season used to start in early June.  Now it starts later in June.  The other reason we sell so many more lake homes is we have open water during those months.  We normally have open water from April to December.


What does this mean?  If you are a seller it means that you want to be ready before July 1.  You want to be on the market, cleaned up and priced right.  If you are a buyer, it will mean that you will be competing against many other buyers during those months.  If buyers are looking for a better selection, I would suggest getting a jump on the heavy buying season.


We are entering the “mud season”.  I like to call it the season that links winter to spring!  We are still cold but the sun is getting powerful and melting snow and ice.  The critters are waking up and spring will be here quite soon

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Minocqua Home Sales February 2018

Sales Feb 2018

February seemed busier than it was.  69 homes were sold in the Northwoods counties of Oneida and Vilas.  This compares with 63 last February (so we are up 9.5%).  We sold 83 units in January so our very brief Year-to-Date number is 152 and this compares with 125 units sold last January and February.  YTD, we are up 21%.

The red line above represents unit sales and the blue line represents listings (supply).  We have been increasing sales ever so slightly and the supply of homes has been decreasing on a regular basis.  I would not be going out on a limb here in predicting more of the same.  Nationally, sales are dropping but not from the lack of demand.  Sales are dropping from the lack of supply.  We do not have that problem here in the Northwoods as we still have a good supply of inventory.

The weather is warming a bit.  We did get a lot of snow last week.   Most areas still have over 24” of snow.  Please come up north and enjoy winter!

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Minocqua Area Home Sales January 2018

Sales January 2018


Some positive news on the sale front.  83 homes were sold in Vilas and Oneida Counties in the month of January.  This compares with a tepid 62 homes in January of 2017 so we are up 33% from the same month one year ago.  I would not normally get excited but showings are also up.


The red line above represents home sales in Oneida and Vilas Counties.  You can see the very regular, almost systolic form the last 4 years.  The red is creeping upward.  The blue line represents the number of listings.  That is steadily going down (down 15% in 2 years).  We are still nowhere near a “balanced” market where we list and sell equal amounts.  However, we continue to move in that direction.


We had a very cold month and showings and sales have been brisk (pardon the pun).

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Sell vs. List % Vilas County 2017 Home Sales

Vilas County Sell:List

Here is a look at the sell/list % for townships in Vilas County.  I broke it down by on water and off water and by township.  Overall, the average is 93.4%.  One can see that there are differences between townships.  A township like Plum Lake (75%) has very few off-water sales (8) and the few that they had sold at a discount.  The neighboring township St. Germain had more sales (26) and they sold at over 98% of list.  An impressive performance.

The takeaway is that most sales do sell in the area of 93% of asking price.  Some sell for less; some for more.  A new, interesting strategy is listing at a ridiculously low price to entice a bidding war.  I did see a home listed using this strategy and it received over 17 offers.

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