February home sales up 7.6 percent in area

Tight inventory continues

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

The local housing market continued its good start to the year with sales in the metropolitan Milwaukee market up 7.6 percent in February.

Last month, 931 homes sold in February, compared to 865 in February of 2015, according to the Greater Milwaukee Association of Realtors.

Washington County saw the biggest increase, with 15 percent more sales this February than last year.  Ozaukee County had a 12.2 percent increase and in Milwaukee County there was a 9.8 percent increase.  Waukesha County remained the same.

February was the 17th month of increased home sales out of the last 18 months, dating back to September 2014. January 2015 was the only month in this time frame that had a decrease in sales compared to the same month a year ago.

housing market feb 2016 chart-aweiland-16/03/11

It was another month of tight inventory. The seasonally adjusted inventory level (the time it would take to sell all of the homes on the market at a given time) for February was 5.0 months, virtually the same as January’s 4.9. The seasonally adjusted level was 6.4 months in February 2015.

“Six months of inventory is generally regarded as a balanced market, in which sellers and buyers are evenly matched in price negotiations,” said Mike Ruzicka, of GMR. “When inventory goes above six months, buyers can often fight for a price reduction or concessions. If inventory sinks below six months sellers can often command higher prices through the listing price, as well as via buyers bidding the price up through negotiations.”

Ruzicka said with inventory levels this low, the law of supply and demand would dictate that prices should rise, and that is what is happening in the market.

Actual sales prices will not be available until the end of the first quarter in April, but brokers are reporting multiple offers with price increases on many listings.

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