Metro Milwaukee home sales dip in February with ‘desperate lack of inventory’

Majority of homes listed were sold within 30 days

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Last updated on March 16th, 2021 at 12:39 pm

Metropolitan Milwaukee home sales were down 0.7% year-over-year in February, a departure from a record breaking 2020 and a strong start in the new year.

But the slight decline was not due to lack of buyer interest, according to the Greater Milwaukee Association of Realtors. Rather, it was the sheer lack of homes listed for sale.

In its monthly market report, GMAR noted the slight drop-off in sales numbers came from declines of 19.4% and 12.5% in Waukesha and Ozaukee counties, respectively, from February 2020.

Rounding out the metro area, sales were up 9.2% in Milwaukee County and 1% in Washington County.

The southeastern Wisconsin region, which also includes Kenosha, Racine and Walworth counties, saw a 5.4% uptick.

GMAR noted the strength of buyer demand can be seen by how quickly homes are being scooped up. Last month, 77% of sales occurred within 60 days of the homes being listed and 61% sold within 30 days. This means most homes listed in February also sold in February.

“The desperate lack of inventory in the market right now cannot be overstated,” GMAR stated.

Listings were down 27.5% in the metro area, and down 29.2% in southeastern Wisconsin.

The listing problem has been compounding for years. GMAR said that since the start of 2016, only 25 months (40% of the time) recorded an increase in homes listed for sale. Sales were up 41 months (66%) in that timeframe.

Demand remains strong because of market conditions such as strong employment and favorable interest rates.

GMAR said area local realtors have many examples of houses with 80-100 showings and more than 20 offers.

Seasonally adjusted inventory levels for the metro area stood at 1.9 months in February, meaning it would take less than two months for all the homes on the market to sell based on current demand.

When taking away the homes that are active with offers, inventory stood at 0.6 months. This was nearly in line with January’s 0.7 months.

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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.

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