Regional Housing Study Summary

Feb 20, 2024

The Regional Housing Study conducted in partnership by Eau Claire County, the City of Eau Claire, and the City of Altoona aimed to assess past and current housing market trends and conditions in Eau Claire County. The study sought to identify challenges and opportunities stemming from these conditions and to propose potential interventions by the public sector to achieve various housing goals.

The study showed:

1. Lower than expected outmigration from the region during the 2010s, particularly among certain demographics. The Housing Study showed “[Our] region provided a good quality of life to its residents and has been generally successful at retaining young people. By the late 2010s, so many of those young people, both natives and recent arrivals, wanted to remain in Eau Claire that the demand they added to the housing market helped to create a tight market further complicated by the onset of the 2020 pandemic.”

2. Inadequate homebuilding relative to demand in the 2010s. There was an increase in homebuyer demand, and with the fallout from 2010 there was a “reduction in home building” stated in the study. When the interest rates fell, millennials were ready to buy, but current home owners were refinancing and staying in their homes, which in return reduced inventory for existing home.

3. Tightened underwriting requirements following the 2008 financial crisis. After 2008 lenders tightened up their underwriting requirements to be more strict. It would then become harder to become a homeowner with these restrictions.

4. Interest rate volatility exacerbated by cumulative inflation pressures.From 2022-2023 the interest rates have increased exponentially, which has kept potential sellers to stay put and not sell their home. This has increased the cost for new buyers in the long run.

These factors led to market disequilibrium, where buyers faced limited inventory choices, move-up buyers felt constrained, and the housing system exhibited slow responsiveness. Additionally, low-income renters experienced minimal relief from new market-rate rental units, as they were primarily targeted towards Millennials delaying home purchases. 

This study aimed to understand market conditions, identify challenges and opportunities, and determine potential interventions to shape the housing market. Findings from the study, based on various data sources including the U.S. Decennial Census, American Community Survey, real estate sales data, and local government records, provide insights into recent trends, establish a baseline, and offer actionable information for the future.

However, there is hope! Hillcrest Estates and Villa Diann have homes that are available now at prices that are lower than renting in Altoona! You don’t have to have limited inventory or feel rushee when buying a home like in 2010 and 2020. We have multiple different types of homes, and we can order a custom home as well! Our homes are great quality and the new ones come with a warranty! The study showed that millennials didn’t have much relief with renting. You can own a home less than you are renting in Altoona- this can take a financial burden off of you, and you’d be building equity in your home. Have a big family? We have 3-4 bedroom homes that are available now! Not looking for a home that’s large? We have smaller homes that are perfect for seniors. 

View our available homes here: and


Photo: City of Eau Claire website