The WRA Releases Economic Impact Study of Real Estate Industry in Wisconsin

Date: October 23, 2019

MADISON, Wis. – Today, the Wisconsin REALTORS® Association released a new study that shows the economic impact of Wisconsin’s real estate industry, including 380,000 jobs, as well as challenges facing the industry as compared to the rest of the country. The report titled, “The Impact of Real Estate on Wisconsin’s Economy,” showcases the tremendous effect that the real estate industry has on Wisconsin’s growing economy.

The report, authored by University of Wisconsin’s Graaskamp Center for Real Estate Director, Dr. Mark J. Eppli, Ph.D., was compiled based upon the most recently available data. 

The economic impact of construction and real estate services on Wisconsin Gross Domestic Product is vast. The special report finds that 15.8 percent of the state’s GDP is directly attributable to construction and real estate services. This makes the real estate industry second only to manufacturing in total economic impact on the state’s economy.

“This report shows that the jobs supported by construction and real estate services are a dramatic part of Wisconsin’s growing economy,” said Tom Larson, the WRA’s Senior Vice President of Legal and Public Affairs. “However, it is disconcerting that we have seen a decline in construction and real estate services since 2001, showing that it is time to address the issues that are hindering Wisconsin from keeping pace with the rest of the nation.”

The impact of the construction and real estate services on the Wisconsin economy is impressive, including:

  • 15.8 percent of the state’s GDP.
  • Support 380,000 jobs.
  • Produce $18 billion in personal earnings for state residents.

Yet, the earnings and employment in construction and real estate services have been declining since 2001. For example: 

  • Construction and real estate services dropped from 16.3 percent of GDP to 15.1 percent of GDP.
  • Employment fell as a share of the state’s employment from 16.5 percent to 15.4 percent.
  • The percent of employment attributable to construction and real estate services in Wisconsin is 26 percent lower than the national average: 7.6 percent for Wisconsin vs. 9.6 percent for the U.S.  

The report reveals the state is not keeping pace with the nation in providing the necessary housing and commercial buildings for business and economic growth. Wisconsin must provide innovative and productive workplaces as well as engage housing options for the next generation. State and local leaders must focus on policies, regulations, and real estate development initiatives that encourage residential and commercial development. Without sustainable new investment in real estate development, Wisconsin’s economic growth will continue to under-perform against the national average.

The WRA’s special report “The Impact of Real Estate on Wisconsin’s Economy,” can be read in its entirety at


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