Wisconsin housing market has strongest summer in 10 years

August sales up 3 percent

Home Sales Wisconsin Realtors Association
Cash sales in the Milwaukee area have decreased year over year
Home Sales Wisconsin Realtors Association
August home sales are up 3 percent over the same month last year.

August housings sales were not as strong as June and July, but were still higher than the same month last year, according to the most recent analysis of the existing home market conducted by the Wisconsin Realtors Association.

Home sales increased 3 percent in August compared to the same month last year, and the median price rose 2.9 percent to $161,500 over that same period. Overall, this summer was the strongest summer in 10 years, according to the association.

“June through August is always our busiest season and 2015 has been an exceptional summer for Wisconsin home sales,” said K.C. Maurer, chairman of the Wisconsin Realtors Association (WRA) Board of Directors. “A typical summer accounts for about 32 percent of the annual sales and this year we were up 14 percent over last year, making it the strongest summer volume since 2005.”

Every region of the state had strong summer sales, with all but one posting double-digit increases over the same three months last year.

Compared to summer 2014, sales were especially strong in the more heavily-urbanized parts of the state.

Sales increased 13.9 percent in the Southeast region of the state. A report released last week from the Greater Milwaukee Association of Realtors that looked at Milwaukee, Waukesha, Washington and Ozaukee counties, showed home sales in August were up 6.2 percent in Metropolitan Milwaukee.

Both agencies noted the decline in the number of homes for sale in Wisconsin. In August, the state had 8.5 months of inventory. During the same month last year, there was 10.1 months of supply.

Inventories in Wisconsin peaked at just over 72,000 unsold homes in the immediate aftermath of the recession in August 2010. Since that time, supply has steadily fallen to 19,400 fewer available homes in August this year compared to that peak level.

“Fewer homes for sale means houses on the market are selling very quickly,” said Michael Theo, WRA president and chief executive officer.

The statewide average number of days on the market fell below 100 days for the June through August period. The last time the average days on the market was below the 100-day mark was July 2006.

Still, housing remains affordable, according to the WRA. The Wisconsin Housing Affordability Index measures the percent of the median-priced home a buyer with median family income can qualify to purchase, assuming a 20 percent down payment and the remainder financed for 30 years at current rates.

The index stood at 220 in August, which is nearly identical to its level from August 2014. The national index stood at 150.5 in July.

Theo said the decision by the Federal Reserve Board to not raise short term interest rates in September was a good development, but he said they have signaled that an increase is on the horizon.

“Mortgage rates continue to be in the low 4 percent range, but that won’t last forever,” Theo said.

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