January home sales up 8.3% in metro Milwaukee

Market still seeing low inventories

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Metro Milwaukee home sales were up 8.3% year-over-year in January, marking the largest number of home sales in the area during any January since at least 2000 and the third consecutive year of more than 1,000 units sold for the month.

Area home sales last month totaled 1,092, compared to 1,008 units sold in January 2019, according to the Greater Milwaukee Association of Realtors.

GMAR noted in its monthly report that the Milwaukee metropolitan area, which includes Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Washington and Waukesha counties, has enjoyed strong sales since the beginning of 2015. The demand comes from first-time buyers (40% of the total market), empty nesters, historically low interest rates and a strong regional job market.

Sales were up the most in Ozaukee County, at 56.5%. Sales grew in Washington County by 24.4%, by 11.8% in Waukesha County and by 1.3% in Milwaukee County.

More broadly, sales were up 10% in Walworth County, up 7.3% in Kenosha County and up 1.9% in Racine County.

However, 2020 is facing strong headwinds due to the lack of available homes on the market, said GMAR. This is an issue that has carried over from recent years.

Listings were down 0.3% in January relative to the previous year. Moreover, in the 49 months since January 2016, 30 of them saw a drop in listings. The cumulative effect means fewer and fewer homes for a growing number of buyers to choose from.

Listings were up by 10.2% in Washington County and by 7% in Waukesha County. They were also up 1.1% in Kenosha County.

Listings were down 7.6% in Ozaukee County and 4.1% in Milwaukee County. They were down 4.4% in Walworth County and 2% in Racine County.

The inventory of available homes for sale (the time it would take to sell all of the homes on the market at a given time) for January was 2.8 months. Inventories below six months indicate a seller’s market.

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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.