Metro Milwaukee home sales down in June

Fall 5.8% compared to year-ago sales

Metro Milwaukee home sales increased in July
Metro Milwaukee home sales increased in July. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Home sales in the metropolitan Milwaukee area fell 5.8% last month relative to June 2018, an extension of a slowing market the region has experienced over the last two months, according to the Greater Milwaukee Association of Realtors.

The group noted in its monthly report on home sales that for the four-county area of Milwaukee, Waukesha, Washington and Ozaukee counties, 2,232 homes were sold in June, 137 fewer than the number of homes sold the same month of last year. Adding in Racine, Kenosha and Walworth counties to the south, home sales dropped 5.7% in June year-over-year, with a total of 2,924 sold during the month.

June sales fell the greatest in Kenosha County, which recorded a 19.1% decrease relative to the same month in 2018. Following that was Milwaukee County, with a decrease of 8.2%. Walworth County saw a 16.4% increase in home sales, while Ozaukee County saw a slight uptick of 1.3%.

Through the second quarter of the year, 9,738 homes were sold, down 5% from the same period in 2018 for the four-county area of Milwaukee, Waukesha, Washington and Ozaukee counties. When adding the three southern counties, home sales similarly fell 4.3% relative to June 2018, with 13,011 sold in all.

Average sales prices, meanwhile, increased in the second quarter compared to the same period of 2018. The metro Milwaukee area saw a 4.2% increase of sales prices, while the entire seven-county region saw an increase of 3.4%.

The largest increase in sales prices for the quarter were recorded in Kenosha and Racine counties, with increases of 8.8% and 8.5%, respectively. Only Walworth County saw a decline in average sales price, which was down 6.1% from last year.

Listings were up 3.5% for the entire region in June, with 93 units added in the four-county area and 125 units added in the seven-county area. Ozaukee and Racine counties saw the largest year-over-year increases in listings for the month, with Ozaukee County up 23% and Racine County up 14.3%.

Listings for the second quarter were down 8% in the four-county area and 7.1% in the entire seven-county region.

The seasonally adjusted inventory level for June was 4 months, up from 3.8 months in May and the same level compared to June 2018. Seasonally adjusted inventory is calculated by taking available homes for sale in a given month and comparing them to the past 12 months’ average sales.

GMAR noted the metro area has enjoyed a strong sales market since 2015, driven by an influx of first-time buyers (making up about 40% of the market), empty-nesters looking to downsize, historically low interest rates and a strong regional job market.

The last couple months of shrinking home sales come at a time when the U.S. economy is showing signs of a slowdown, according to GMAR. The group pointed to facts such as the Federal Reserve’s contemplation of a rate cut and declines in business and consumer confidence.

However, GMAR added that even with home sales slowing, there are no signs indicating a collapse of the housing market the U.S. saw just over a decade ago.

“This is not 2008,” GMAR notes in its report. “There are no reports, or anecdotal stories, of unworthy buyers getting loans or crooked lenders handing out cash that precipitated the 2008 crash. All indications point to a soft landing.”

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Alex Zank
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.