Surrounding Lambeau Field—home of the beloved Green Bay Packers—are ranch homes built in the 1960s.
Home buyers used to be able to score one of these unremarkable ranchers for $150,000 or less. They're the kind of quaint homes you'll find dotting most Midwestern towns, with tidy yards, basements, and longtime owners.
But over the past two years, listing prices in this micro neighborhood of Green Bay, WI, have tripled, quadrupled, and quintupled. And now there's a home on the market that would sack all previous sales records. But will it sell for anywhere near the asking price? Call it a real estate Hail Mary.
Listed for the jaw-dropping price of $800,000 is a four-bedroom, two-bath home on Shadow Lane, one street north of the stadium. In 2016, the home now listed with Michael Biemeret of Keller Williams’ Green Bay office was assessed for $131,100.
Home prices have a Lambeau leap
If we look at recent history, the prodigious price tag makes sense. Last September, a three-bedroom, two-bath ranch on the same block received multiple offers—selling for $325,000 ($10,000 above the list price), despite a $110,200 assessed value.
Pricing liftoff around Lambeau was under way.
“Two blocks over, that might have been a $139,900 house,” says Mark Olejniczak, the son of former Packers president Dominic Olejniczak and broker-owner of Mark D. Olejniczak Realty Inc.
The September stunner was followed by another gift from the property value gods: a $615,000 sale in December for a three-bedroom, two-bath 1,732-square-foot ranch. As with the current $800,000 listing, the home that sold late last year is within a spiral or two from Lambeau Field. Assessed value? $132,400.
Titletown development contributes to Lambeau lift
The listing photos reveal that the pricing strategy on the $800,000 house is all about proximity. There are just a couple of interior photos, along with several showing buyers just how close they are to the stadium. Lambeau is a short walk, as is the new $65 million, 34-acre Titletown District, a retail and hotel development, which is now open for business. A skating rink, regulation-size football field, and festival grounds are coming soon.
As a result, homes in the area are getting a face-lift.
“When you drive down this street, (you see) these houses getting completely renovated,” says Taylor Hansen, an agent with Place Perfect Realty’s Green Bay office.
But are these asking prices a part of fantasy football?
“It’s a good example of how the free market works,” Hansen explains. “Anybody can list anything for any price.”
Packers houses phenomenon
But here’s the catch: Most homes near Lambeau Field aren’t used for daily living. Corporations and individuals who are rabid Packers fans turn them into “Packers Houses,” used on game days for tailgating pregame events. These Sunday-only buyers “don’t care what the kitchen looks like,” says Hansen.
“A lot of people in the Green Bay area would be surprised that single-family homes such as this can list and sell for these kinds of prices,” says Olejniczak. “There’s no value to the house. They’re just paying for the lot.”
He adds that homeowners offset their annual property taxes by leasing out their lawn for parking spots on game day. If this current listing sells for even close to the $800,000 asking price, "it will blaze a new trail for prices," says Olejniczak.
“Starting a few years ago, investors were buying up these smaller homes that were older and had two or three bedrooms and one- or two-car garages,” says Olejniczak. “These houses run $90,000 to $120,000 on average. Some were getting much more.”
The $615,000 sale in December?
“This same house in the early 2000s would have been $110,000,” he says.
Novelty real estate?
It boils down to what Mike Kunesh, president of the Realtors Association of Northeast Wisconsin and listing agent with Place Perfect Realty’s Green Bay office, calls “novelty real estate.” Green Bay, he adds, is “a hot market.”
It’s no coincidence the house went on the market a month before the first pre-season home game, when thousands of fans clad in green and gold begin to swarm the streets.
“It’s football season now,” says Kunesh. “There’s a lot of attention there, in and around Lambeau Field.”
As for buyers who might have visions of sweet Airbnb money flowing into their wallet? Many existing homeowners have quietly resided in their homes for two or three decades and don’t want to see their neighborhoods host a nonstop party.
“Property owners have rights, and these rights have to be protected, within reason,” says Kunesh. “It’s a little bit of a ‘Buyer beware’ situation. You might come in thinking you want a party house.”
But the agents we spoke with acknowledge that it's the perfect time to lay out a speculative asking price.
“If you’re going to sell a house [in Green Bay] for $800,000, your best bet in getting a high price is probably now,” says Hansen. Kunesh couldn’t agree more. “As much as these homes are going for, I think you’re foolish not to have your banner flying out there,” he says.
However, this listing has sat on the market for close to two months.
“Usually, when these Packers homes come on the market, if they’re priced appropriately, they sell immediately,” says Olejniczak.
Who will the next buyer be?
“All it takes is one person. There’s Packers fans all over the world,” says Olejniczak.