Downtown condo sales down a bit, Mandel Group report says

Transactions over $500,000 represented 11 percent of 2015 sales

The Moderne development is one of the last time new condos have been added to downtown Milwaukee.

Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 09:11 am

Total condominium sales in downtown Milwaukee’s five zip code area were down about 2 percent in 2015 over the previous year. Last year, 466 condos were sold in downtown Milwaukee, compared to 477 in 2014, according to the 2015 year-end report on the condominium market by Milwaukee-based multifamily development firm Mandel Group Inc.

“If you’re in the market for a purchase and you plan on being a longer‐term owner, it’s a great time to buy a condo downtown” said Robert Monnat, chief operating officer of Mandel Group. “Prices remain consistent with what we saw during the first six months of the year and interest rates couldn’t be more favorable.”

Mandel Group tracks condominium sales through data available on MLS, which accounts for about 95 percent of transactions. The five zip‐code area includes Walker’s Point, the Third Ward, Brady Street, the East Side/Lower East Side, the Beerline corridor and Brewer’s Hill.

The Moderne development is one of the last time new condos have been added to downtown Milwaukee.
The Moderne development is one of the last times new condos have been added to downtown Milwaukee.

As an active developer of condominiums prior to the recession, the firm receives frequent inquiries as to the status of the condominium market and those conditions that would be necessary to trigger new condominium development.

Sales prices held steady as compared to the first half of the year but have not continued to appreciate above pre-recession levels, according to the report.

For the six months ended in December, 2015, sales in the $100,000‐$250,000 range returned transactions averaging $178,331. For sales in the $250,000‐$500,000 range, transactions averaged $344,546.

Transactions under $500,000 represented 89 percent of all sales transactions of downtown condominiums in the second half of 2015, according to the report.

The most expensive units – those selling above $500,000 – represented 11 percent of the sales in the last six months of 2015, averaging $800,389 per transaction.

Chris Corley, of Corley Real Estate, who specializes in luxury condominium sales, said business has been “unbelievable” for him. So far this year, he has already had $2.5 million in closings and another $2 million in accepted offers.

“We’ve seen more millennials coming out so far, which is not normally the trend,” Corley said. “Usually it is more empty nesters, but younger people are buying in this market.”

Sellers are fairing well, according to Mandel Group, with sale agreements being struck at 94 percent of list price and days on market averaging 81.

“Overall, you look at the data and see the market in a very comfortable zone of equilibrium,” Monnat said. “Both buyers and sellers should feel comfortable in their ability to transact in a fair range of values.”

The two biggest impediments to buyers pulling the trigger are real estate taxes and condominium dues, Monnat said.

“The total cost of owning and maintaining a home is still an issue,” he said. “Fortunately, continued low interest rates have helped balance the all‐in cost such that more buyers have been able to qualify for the home they aspire to own.”

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