Continued tight housing inventory plus high demand is leading to increasing buyer frustration with the market, particularly among those searching for a home under $350,000.
“Buyers are seeing properties snatched up before they’ve had an opportunity to view them,” said Mike Ruzicka, president of the Greater Milwaukee Association of Realtors.
Because of this trend, home sales in September were down 1.1 percent in metropolitan Milwaukee. Overall, sales for the third quarter were up 1 percent, according to the association.
The market will have to see 4,947 sales in the fourth quarter to match last year’s total of 21,007 home sales. Since the end of the recession, the strongest fourth quarter was in 2016, when there were 4,531 sales.
“It will be a tall order to match the total listings from 2016,” Ruzicka said.
In the four-county area there were 1,823 sales in September. The largest drop was in Waukesha County, which had 487 sales, down 11.9 percent from September 2016.
Washington County saw a 20.4 percent increase over the same time last year, with 218 sales, compared to 181.
Listings were down in September. Milwaukee and Washington counties were relatively flat, but Waukesha and Ozaukee counties saw listings slip about 8.5 percent from September 2016, reducing the number of homes available to satisfy buyer demand.
All four counties in the metropolitan area were up in year-over-year average sales price, continuing a five-year run of increasing values.
While Milwaukee County did not surpass its pre-recessionary peak, it also has the largest housing stock and will take longer to make the turn. It is currently 7.3 percent, or $14,022, behind the peak of $192,276 reached in 2007. The other three counties have made solid gains during the recovery.