First quarter home sales hit 12-year high in state

Existing home sales picked up in March

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

After relatively flat home sales across the state in January and February, the first quarter ended with the strongest sales since 2005, according to the latest numbers released by the Wisconsin Realtors Association.

Home sales were up 5.2 percent in March.
Record first quarter home sales in Wisconsin

For the first quarter, existing home sales increased 3.2 percent compared to the first quarter of 2016, and median prices were up 6.4 percent to $159,575 over that same period.

There were 13,376 homes sold during the first quarter of the year, this represents the strongest level sales since 2005.

This has happened despite new listings being down 15.8 percent in March 2017 compared to March 2016.

“What is amazing about these record sales is that they are occurring against a backdrop of very tight statewide inventories,” said Erik Sjowall, WRA board chairman.

For March, home sales were 7.2 percent higher than in March 2016, with median prices up 5.2 percent to $163,000.

“Tight supply combined with strong demand conditions is a recipe for higher prices, and that’s what we’re seeing moving into the spring and summer housing markets,” said WRA president and CEO Michael Theo.

Median home prices rose 6.4 percent between the first quarter of 2016 and that quarter in 2017, compared to the inflation rate, which has been rising at an annual pace of between 2.4 percent and 2.7 percent for the first three months of 2017.

The median home price in southeastern Wisconsin was $171,350 in March, compared to $162,000 in March 2016, a 5.8 percent increase. The median price increased in all southeastern Wisconsin counties, with the largest increase in Walworth County, where the price jumped from $166,000 to $202,000, a 21.7 percent jump.

The state’s metro areas have low inventory levels (the time it would take to sell all of the homes on the market at a given time) of homes for sale, while rural areas have higher inventories. Rural counties had 8 months of inventory in March, there were just 3.8 months of available supply in the metropolitan counties in the state.

Compared to the same period last year, March sales were up in all six regions of the state, with the most robust sales growth seen in the areas of the state where inventory is higher. For example, in the north sales were up 28.1 percent. in contrast, sales rose but at a more modest pace in the southeast region, at 4.7 percent.

“The meager inventories in our urban areas have been a significant drag on sales, and so it’s not surprising that the more heavily urbanized areas in the west, southeast and south central regions grew quite a bit slower than the more rural regions of the state,” Sjowall said.

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