Home sales across the state strongest since 2005

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Record year on track for Wisconsin housing market

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

More homes were sold in Wisconsin in 2015 than any year since 2005, according to a year-end analysis of the existing home sales market.

A total of 76,693 homes were sold in the state last year, up 11.4 percent over 2014, and median prices were 5.1 percent higher in 2015, compared to 2014, according to the Wisconsin Realtors Association.

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The 2015 home sale total was just shy of the 78,125 homes sold in the pre-recession year of 2005.

“It has been a phenomenal year for housing, with more than 7,800 additional homes sold this year compared to last year,” said K.C. Maurer, chairman of the association board of directors. “The strength of this market was seen across the entire state, with sales up by double-digit margins in every region.”

The average sales price was $155,500, up 5 percent from 2014, when the average sales price was $148,000.

More homes would have sold if inventory would not have been so tight. State inventories of unsold homes fell to just over 40,000 in December, according to the association.

“Part of the reason housing supply has declined is that foreclosures have fallen to levels not seen since the early part of the last decade,” said Michael Theo, president and CEO of the association.

In 2015, the state recorded 10,700 foreclosures, which is similar to the average of 10,816 between 2002 and 2005. By comparison, there were approximately 28,500 foreclosures in both 2009 and 2010.

David Clark, an economist at C3 Statistical Solutions and professor of economics at Marquette University, said the fundamentals are in place to have a pretty solid 2016; however, if inventory continues to decline, there won’t be enough homes to support a high level of sales.

“I’m not suggesting a reversal of the trend, but 2015 was a solid year,” Clark said. “As long as the economy continues and mortgage rates don’t rise substantially, I think we can perform at least at the same level this year.”

There were 115,528 listings in 2015, virtually the same amount of listings in 2014. However, the number of new listings in December 2015 was down 6 percent from December 2014, with lower inventory in metropolitan Milwaukee than the rural areas of the state.

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