GMAR: January home sales up nearly 9% in metro Milwaukee

Strong seller's market continues for region

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

The robust market for Milwaukee-area home sales continued into the new year, according to the latest report from the Greater Milwaukee Association of Realtors.

Compared with the pre-pandemic January 2020, last month saw an increase of 8.9% for the four-county metropolitan area, which includes Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Washington and Waukesha counties.

The seven-county region of southeastern Wisconsin saw a nearly identical increase of 8.8% for the month. In addition to the four county metro area, the region also includes Kenosha, Racine and Walworth counties.

Sales increased the highest rate in Ozaukee County, 15.3% more than January 2020. Following that is Walworth County (14.8%), Kenosha County (13.7%) and Milwaukee County (12.4%).

Waukesha and Racine county home sales were slightly up at 2.7% and 1.2%, respectively, while sales in Washington County were flat.

As it does regularly, GMAR called for more new homes to be built. It said the number of new units coming online is nowhere near enough to satisfy market demand.

GMAR further noted that area real estate agents have “hundreds of examples” of homes that netted 20 or more offers.

The median sale prices in the metro area unsurprisingly were up for January, given the short supply and high demand. The median price of single-family units was up 8.5%, to $267,000, while the median price for condos and townhouses was up 5.3%, to $200,000.

Listings were down in most of the region in January. The exception to that was Milwaukee County, which saw a meager six-unit gain from January of last year.

Listings were down 10.6% for the metro area, and down 10.9% for the entire region.

January listings were down by the greatest rate in Waukesha County, a 35.2% decline from the year prior. Following that was Kenosha County, with a 23% decline.

The seasonally adjusted inventory for January was 1.9 months, an “exceptionally low number,” according to GMAR. This number shows how many months it would take to sell all of the existing homes on the market based on current demand.

When subtracting listings that are active with an offer, the inventory level falls to 0.7 months.

Generally, six months of inventory indicates a balanced market. The metro area has been a strong seller’s market for many months, meaning inventories have been below that six-month benchmark. Anything above that indicates a buyer’s market.

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Alex Zank covers commercial and residential real estate for BizTimes. Alex previously worked for Farm Equipment magazine and also covered statewide construction news at The Daily Reporter. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, where he studied journalism, political science and economics. Having grown up in rural western Wisconsin, Alex loves all things outdoors, including camping, hiking, four-wheeling and hunting.

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