By Molly Snyder Senior Writer Published Mar 02, 2005 at 5:35 AM

{image1}Although Milwaukee's real estate market is a bargain compared to larger cities, the days of scoring a cheap fixer-upper in neighborhoods like Riverwest and Bay View seem to be a purchase of the past.

So we turned to local agents to find out what $175,000 will buy in today's market, and once again, the answer boils down to location, location, location.

"On the East Side, $175,000 won't get you anything," says Norm Terapak, owner of Terapak Realty on Brady Street.

Terapak specializes in Riverwest and East Side properties. He says you can still find decent properties in Riverwest for that price, but prices are still two, three even four times what one would have paid five years ago.

"For now, however, the prices seem to have leveled off in Riverwest," says Terapak.

Harambee/Brewer's Hill has perhaps the widest range of asking prices, with some houses and condos on the south end going for $200,000-$300,000 and homes on the north end going for much less. It's a block-by-block market, so $175,000 is definitely doable in parts of the neighborhood on the cusp of gentrification.

Jon Brackett of Shorewest Realtors sells in the Downtown area. "The only thing that $175,000 will get you is a condo, and probably a one bedroom. Maybe a two bedroom, if it needs work," he says.

Brackett says the Downtown market has also boomed, and that even the more-affordable condos like the Knickerbocker have increased in price, with studios going for $70,000 and one bedrooms well over $100,000.

Just a couple of years ago if you wanted a steal of a deal Bay View was your best bet, but today prices are steep.

"Homes in Bay View are hot," says Andrea Dillig, an agent with HomeSale Realty. "The homes that are in 'move-in' condition and have the arts and crafts appeal do not last long at all."

Dillig says a Bay View three-bedroom with one bath -- possibly one-and-a-half baths -- starts at $175,000 and prices go up from there.

"Bay View is trying very hard, and succeeding, in making it the 'Family East Side,'" she says.

Both Shorewood and Brookfield, for the most part, are out of the question for $175k, but occasionally smaller homes in Wauwatosa and Whitefish Bay are available for that price or just a little more. On a recent search, three homes were listed in Whitefish Bay for under $180,000 -- all of which were a single-story and had two to three bedrooms and one bath.

Dillig says Washington Heights, although it has swelled in price over the past few years, still offers decent deals.

"In 'The Heights,' if you are looking for a home that has had some updates and is in move-in condition, it is possible to get a nice home starting around $165,000," she says.

Prices fluctuate based on neighborhoods that are "hot," the time of year and interest rates.

"I would say we are in neither a buyer nor sellers market," says Terapak. "Interest rates remain low so we should have a strong spring."

Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.

Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.