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Houses on Spaight Street in Madison's Marquette Neighborhood.

You're not imagining it: It’s insanely hard to buy a house in Madison’s real estate market.

This week’s top read at dove into the frantic sellers' market. Liz Lauer, a real estate broker with 20 years experience in Madison, said it’s the strongest sellers' market she’s ever seen, including the pre-recession housing boom.

“In 2004, 2005, I never had 18 offers on one house,” she said.

To beat out fierce competition, buyers are getting more strategic — buying in cash, offering to cover the difference if an appraisal is low — and creative. One realtor had a client beat out an offer that was $25,000 higher by writing a personal letter explaining “how much they loved the house and how they were going to use it in the future."

Another top read this week was Abigail Becker’s cover story on the massive amount of festivals, farmers’ markets, rallies, races and street fairs taking over Madison, mostly on the isthmus, every year. The amount of events — with 384 proposed for 2018 — has almost doubled since 2007. With closed streets and re-routed buses necessary for many of those celebrations, Becker asked whether Madison was suffering from “festival fatigue.”

“Candidly, I feel we’re past capacity, not just at capacity,” said Chuck Kamp, Metro’s general manager, about events.

Other popular reads this week included the approval of plans for a massive west side development, a new tasting-menu restaurant on Atwood Avenue and Democratic gubernatorial candidates who will try to get the state out of the Foxconn deal, should they be elected governor.

Here are this week’s top 10 most read articles from Sunday, April 22, to Saturday, April 28:

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