GMAR: Metro Milwaukee home sales up 4.1% in September

Sales down 1.6% through third quarter

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Home sales in the metropolitan Milwaukee market were up 4.1% in September, but down 1.6% through the third quarter of this year versus the same periods of 2018, according to the Greater Milwaukee Association of Realtors.

The September increase continues a three-month run of growing sales both in the metro Milwaukee and southeastern Wisconsin markets.

A total of 1,785 were sold in September in the four-county metro area consisting of Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Washington and Waukesha counties, up 71 from last September. Through the third quarter of the year, 16,162 homes were sold in the area, which is 263 less than the first nine months a year ago.

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Ozaukee County saw the highest sales growth for both September and through the third quarter, with increases of 24.1% and 5.2%, respectively. Home sales in Milwaukee County were up 3% for the month but down 3.7% through the third quarter. They were up 6.9% in Washington County and 1.1% in Waukesha County for the month, and down 2.4% in Washington County and up 1.9% in Waukesha County for the first nine months of the year.

As for the seven-county region that also includes Kenosha, Racine and Walworth counties, home sales were up 5.8% in September and down 1.2% through the third quarter.

Racine County saw sales growth of 21% in September and 0.5% through the third quarter. Walworth County, meanwhile, saw a 4.6% decline in home sales for the month but an increase of 2.3% through the third quarter. Kenosha County saw an increase of 10.2% for the month but a decrease of 2.2% so far this year.

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Average sale prices were up 4.3% in the metropolitan counties and up 4.7% in southeastern Wisconsin through the third quarter. The largest metro-area increase in sales prices came from Waukesha and Milwaukee counties, up 6.2% and 6%, respectively. They were up 4.9% in Washington County and 1.4% in Ozaukee County.

Sales prices through the third quarter were up 9.7% in Racine County, up 9.2% in Kenosha County and down 0.4% in Walworth County.

Southeastern Wisconsin’s three-year averages suggest around 6,417 should be sold in the fourth quarter, according to GMAR. Hitting the average would put total home sales about 0.6% behind the 2018 total.

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The metro area has enjoyed strong home sales since 2015, GMAR stated. This is due to an influx of first-time homebuyers, empty nesters who are downsizing, low interest rates and a strong regional job market.

Meanwhile, listings were up a solid 10.2% in the metro area and 6.6% in the entire region for September. Listings were nearly flat through the third quarter, both for the metro area and southeastern Wisconsin.

Ozaukee County again saw the highest increase in listings for the metro area, both for September (up 33.3%) and the third quarter (up 8%). Milwaukee and Washington county listings were up by a little over 10% in September, while Waukesha County listings were up 5.2%. Listings through the third quarter were up by 1.7% in Waukesha County, flat in Washington County, and down 2% in Milwaukee County.

GMAR calculated the inventory of available homes in September was 4 months, meaning it would take that many months to sell all homes already for sale. This was down slightly from the 4.1 months of inventory for August, and the same as September 2018.

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