Unlocking Investment Potential: A Guide to Rental Properties in Milwaukee County, WI

Milwaukee County, WI

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Investing in rental properties can be a lucrative venture, but the key to success lies in selecting the right property in the right location. A good rental property typically features a desirable location, affordable purchase price, potential for appreciation, and a strong rental market. Location is paramount as it influences the property's rental income, vacancy rates, and long-term value. In this guide, we'll explore Milwaukee County, WI, a region known for its vibrant communities, economic opportunities, and diverse attractions, to identify the best neighborhoods for rental property investment.

Best Neighborhoods and Areas in Milwaukee County, WI

1. Bay View

  • Convenience: A
  • Tourist Attractions: B+
  • Things to Do: A
  • Average Home Prices: B
  • Return on Investment: A-
  • Proximity to Work-Related Travel: B+
  • X-Factor: A

Bay View is a thriving neighborhood known for its eclectic mix of restaurants, shops, and entertainment options. Situated along the shores of Lake Michigan, Bay View offers a blend of urban and suburban living, making it highly desirable for renters.

Convenience: Bay View boasts excellent public transportation options and easy access to major highways, making commuting a breeze. The neighborhood is also pedestrian and bike-friendly, enhancing its appeal to a wide range of renters.

Tourist Attractions: While not as tourist-heavy as downtown Milwaukee, Bay View offers unique attractions such as the South Shore Farmers Market, the Bay View Historical Society, and numerous local festivals.

Things to Do: Residents can enjoy a vibrant arts scene, numerous parks, and a variety of dining and nightlife options. The community's strong emphasis on local businesses creates a unique and lively atmosphere.

Average Home Prices: Home prices in Bay View are moderate, offering good value for investors. The average home price is around $250,000, which is relatively affordable given the area's amenities and desirability.

Return on Investment: Bay View offers strong rental yields due to its high demand and relatively lower home prices. Investors can expect a good return on investment, especially with well-maintained properties.

Proximity to Work-Related Travel: The neighborhood is close to downtown Milwaukee, major hospitals, and educational institutions, making it convenient for professionals.

X-Factor: Bay View's unique blend of urban charm and community-focused living sets it apart. Its cultural vibrancy and strong local identity make it a standout choice for rental property investment.

2. East Side

  • Convenience: A-
  • Tourist Attractions: A
  • Things to Do: A
  • Average Home Prices: C+
  • Return on Investment: B+
  • Proximity to Work-Related Travel: A
  • X-Factor: B+

The East Side is one of Milwaukee's most vibrant and sought-after neighborhoods, known for its youthful energy, diverse population, and cultural attractions.

Convenience: The East Side is highly walkable, with numerous amenities within easy reach. Public transportation is readily available, and the area offers quick access to downtown Milwaukee.

Tourist Attractions: Home to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the East Side attracts visitors to its cultural institutions, historic sites, and annual events such as the Summer Soulstice Music Festival.

Things to Do: The neighborhood boasts a wide array of dining, shopping, and entertainment options. From trendy boutiques to lively bars and theaters, there's always something happening on the East Side.

Average Home Prices: Home prices on the East Side are higher, averaging around $300,000. However, the area's desirability and rental demand can offset the initial investment cost.

Return on Investment: Despite higher home prices, rental demand is strong, particularly from students and young professionals. Investors can achieve solid returns, especially with properties near the university.

Proximity to Work-Related Travel: The East Side's proximity to downtown, hospitals, and corporate offices makes it ideal for professionals seeking short commutes.

X-Factor: The East Side's dynamic atmosphere, bolstered by its academic and cultural institutions, makes it a unique and appealing place for renters.

3. Third Ward

  • Convenience: B+
  • Tourist Attractions: A
  • Things to Do: A+
  • Average Home Prices: C
  • Return on Investment: B
  • Proximity to Work-Related Travel: A
  • X-Factor: A

The Historic Third Ward is Milwaukee's premier arts and fashion district, known for its revitalized warehouses, chic boutiques, and vibrant cultural scene.

Convenience: The Third Ward offers good public transportation options and is within walking distance of downtown Milwaukee. Parking can be challenging, but the neighborhood's walkability makes up for it.

Tourist Attractions: This area is a major draw for tourists, featuring the Milwaukee Public Market, numerous art galleries, and the annual Third Ward Art Festival.

Things to Do: The Third Ward is packed with activities, from upscale dining and shopping to theater and live music. It's a hub for cultural and social events, making it an exciting place to live.

Average Home Prices: Home prices in the Third Ward are on the higher end, averaging around $350,000. However, the area's desirability can justify the investment.

Return on Investment: While the initial investment may be higher, the strong rental market, particularly for luxury apartments and lofts, can provide good returns.

Proximity to Work-Related Travel: The Third Ward's central location offers excellent access to downtown offices, the convention center, and major highways, making it ideal for professionals.

X-Factor: The Third Ward's blend of historic charm and modern amenities, along with its status as a cultural hotspot, gives it a unique appeal.

4. Wauwatosa

  • Convenience: A
  • Tourist Attractions: B
  • Things to Do: B+
  • Average Home Prices: B+
  • Return on Investment: A
  • Proximity to Work-Related Travel: A-
  • X-Factor: B+

Wauwatosa, often referred to as Tosa, is a suburban city known for its family-friendly environment, excellent schools, and vibrant community life.

Convenience: Wauwatosa offers easy access to major highways and public transportation, making it convenient for commuting to Milwaukee and other nearby areas.

Tourist Attractions: While not a major tourist destination, Wauwatosa offers attractions like the Milwaukee County Zoo and the historic Village area, which features charming shops and restaurants.

Things to Do: Residents can enjoy a variety of parks, local festivals, and a growing number of dining and shopping options. The Mayfair Mall is a popular destination for shopping and entertainment.

Average Home Prices: Home prices in Wauwatosa are moderate, averaging around $275,000. The area's strong community appeal and amenities offer good value for investors.

Return on Investment: Wauwatosa offers excellent rental yields due to its desirability among families and professionals. The stable rental market ensures consistent returns.

Proximity to Work-Related Travel: The city's location provides easy access to major employment centers, hospitals, and educational institutions, making it a convenient choice for professionals.

X-Factor: Wauwatosa's blend of suburban comfort and urban amenities, along with its strong sense of community, makes it an attractive place for renters seeking a balanced lifestyle.


Milwaukee County offers a diverse range of neighborhoods, each with its unique charm and investment potential. By carefully evaluating convenience, attractions, activities, home prices, return on investment, work-related travel proximity, and the 'x-factor,' investors can make informed decisions and unlock the full potential of rental properties in this vibrant region. Whether you prefer the urban buzz of the Third Ward, the community vibe of Bay View, the youthful energy of the East Side, or the suburban appeal of Wauwatosa, Milwaukee County has something to offer for every investor.

Reveal your property’s rental profitability

Buy this property and list it on Airbnb.