Dane County supports a strong local economy and consistently ranks as one of the nation’s top places to live. Between 2009 and 2017, the county added 24,000 households, a growth of around 12 percent. For much of this period household growth outpaced new construction, which has led to historically low rental vacancy rates. Over the last four years, these rates have hovered around 3 percent in the county, lower than the national norm of 4 to 7 percent. In a tight market like this, competition increases for scarce units, landlords use more stringent screening processes, and rents go up, sometimes forcing out existing tenants.
“Rental Housing Affordability in Dane County,” released May 2019, was prepared by Will Maher. The fact sheet examines the relatively high rental housing costs in Dane County (Wisconsin) and the challenges this creates for many lower- to middle-income residents of the county.