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Milwaukee rent skyrockets, neighborhood up 82%

MILWAUKEE – Spring and summer are usually the busiest season for moving, but the cost of rent is skyrocketing in Milwaukee. A mother from West Allis is one of those people trying to find a new place to rent.

Rebecca Knock

Viviette Smith sits with two of her children in a park in Riverwest. She is currently looking for a new place to rent.

“I feel like it’s a little crazy. It’s too bloated,” Viviette Smith said. “I mean, looking in quotes at ‘affordable housing’ isn’t that affordable right now. “

She says her lease expires in a few months and if she stays she will have to pay extra. The mother of three just got divorced, so money is very tight right now.

“I don’t feel like my salary is growing at the same rate as rent levels,” Smith said.

west river sign


Riverwest neighborhood sign

This is happening all over town. According to a report by, the average monthly apartment rent in Milwaukee is between $1,100 and $1,625. The average price for a one bedroom is $1,400 per month and the average for a two bedroom is $1,600 per month. Chief Economist Danielle Hale says their own research shows rental prices in Milwaukee are rising faster than usual.

“Comparing now to a year ago, rents were 8.6% higher than they were at the same time last year in a normal market,” Hale said.

In the Riverwest neighborhood, rent has gone up 82% for a one-bedroom apartment, according to The average price is $1,400 per month.

“With few homes available for rent, but a decent number of tenants looking to rent because housing costs are rising so much in the sale market, it’s really created an imbalance and supply and demand. It’s created conditions where landlords can push higher rents,” Hale said.



Riverwest Apartments

However, there are no increases at all levels. The Lower East Side saw rents drop 58% to an average price of $724. The Northpoint neighborhood fell by the same percentage for an average price of $925.

But for Smith, she hasn’t found any of those lower rents yet, so she thinks she might have to stay where she is and pay for it.

Social interview: Rent in Milwaukee is skyrocketing

“I might have to take a second job, do some kind of hustling, because I won’t be able to earn the money I need,” Smith said.

Outside of Milwaukee, rents are also on the rise. Wauwatosa comes in with the highest rent for a bedroom outside of town.


+39% increase

Menomonee Falls
+11% increase

brown deer
+1% increase

+11% increase

West Allies
-35% decrease

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