WASHINGTON COUNTY, Wis. — Washington County is taking a new approach to make sure there are more affordable homes available to their residents and people who work in the community. 

What You Need To Know

  • Washington County is looking to make new homes more affordable 

  • Builders will be incentivized to build homes between $200-400K 

  • Land plots are located in Hartford, Slinger, and Jackson

  • Support is coming from many in the local business community 

The county is launching a program called Next Generation Housing. The county will spend $6.75 million to incentivize builders to construct new homes at a more affordable price point than what is currently being seen in the county. 

In order to qualify for the incentives, which are being paid for though county savings funds, builders would need to sell 75% of homes for under $300,000 and the remaining 25% for under $400,000. 

Currently, there are three plots of land in different parts of the county that would be used as part of the Next Generation program. The plots are located in Slinger, Jackson, and Hartford. 

Washington County Executive Josh Schoemann is a strong proponent of the plan. At a time when more land is being developed in the county, Schoemann said he believes that having more affordable options would attract newcomers to the county and also serve as an incentive for more people to work in the area. 

“My highest priority is trying to get those kids who graduated from high school here and left for college and are now are coming back or maybe went straight into the workforce to be able to find a home here in Washington County and not have to think about moving to Dodge County or Fond du Lac County,” said Schoemann.

Schoemann said there is a lack of more modestly priced housing in the county. In particular, many mid-20th century, quarter-acre lot homes that normally would be less expensive are hard to find. Schoemann said people are staying in their homes longer.

While Schoemann said he is glad people are remaining in their home, it can create some challenges for younger homebuyers. 

“That is OK, but it does create a situation where there is a lack of opportunity for the next generation to be able to have that same start that is so important to build generational wealth,” said Schoemann.

Next Generation Housing has seen support from several large employers in the county, who see more affordable housing as a good recruiting and retention tool for employees.

The Hartford Economic Development Corporation, which has played a role in developing industrial complexes in the city, has also been a proponent. Tom Hostad serves as the HEDC’s executive director and he said the project could impact hiring.  

“Our employers feel it is very important to give their employees options to live right here in the community in which they work,” said Hostad.

The HEDC owns the plot of land where a subdivision would be constructed in Hartford using the Next Generation Funds. Currently, all construction projects relating to the Next Generation initiative remain in the planning and approval phase.