Metro Milwaukee home sales climb 34 percent

Sales in the four-county metropolitan Milwaukee saw a significant boost in October as expiration of the First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit was on the horizon, prior to approval of an extension, according to housing statistics released by Metro MLS Inc.

Overall sales in the region climbed 33.9 percent in October compared with the same month a year ago.

In October, it was clear that the price decreases of the last year combined with low interest rates, abundant choices, and the tax credit, motivated buyers to take advantage of the market, the Metro MLS said.

Milwaukee County led the region with a seventh consecutive month of positive sales, up 42.7 percent over the sales in October of 2008.

Waukesha County saw its first double-digit increase in a long time with a 22.3-percent jump from the year earlier. Washington County also jumped 37.9 percent over 2008, its second double-digit increase in a row.

Ozaukee County, populated with many homes at the higher-end of the price spectrum, saw an increase in sales of 3.9 percent for October.

Recent buyers were motivated to act as the federal First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit was set to end on Nov. 30. At that time, buyers did not know if Congress would extend the credit, so they acted to get their offers in and deals closed before the deadline.

On the listing side, new homes put up for sale are down in the four-county area by 3.6 percent, but Ozaukee and Washington Counties saw increased listings of 20.2 percent and 4.1 percent, respectively.

Other counties in southeastern Wisconsin also reported positive gains in October sales:

Racine County saw a gain of 25.3 percent in October, after a weak -6.8-percent showing in September.

Kenosha County registered its second double-digit increase in a row, with a 13.3-percent gain over 2008, on top of September’s 12.1-percent gain.

Walworth County saw its second double-digit month of increased sales, going up 20 percent over 2008, after an 18.1-percent increase in September.

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