Metro Milwaukee home sales dip in October

Third consecutive month of year-over-year decline

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The number of homes sold in the four-county metro Milwaukee area fell 5.7 in October, compared to October of 2017, according to the latest report from the Greater Milwaukee Association of Realtors.

There were 1,700 home sales in the area in October, down from 1,802 in October of 2017.

The number of homes sold in Milwaukee County fell 8.7 percent to 901, fell 5.3 percent in Ozaukee County to 5.3 percent and dipped 0.8 percent in Waukesha County to 516 during October.

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However, October home sales were up 3.6 percent in Washington County, to 175.

Home for sale

October was the third consecutive month of year-over-year home sale declines in the metro area. And, for the entire year sales in the area are now down 65 compared to a year ago. There were 17,862 sales during the first 10 months of 2017, compared to 17,797 for the first 10 months of 2018, a 0.4 percent decrease.

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“The lower monthly sales numbers were attributable to a seasonal slowdown in sales, as well as the continued lack of affordable inventory,” said GMAR president Mike Ruzicka. “As has been the case all year, there are more first time and empty nester buyers looking for listings under $300,000 than there are homes available. Some brokers are even extending the threshold of limited supply to $400,000. Listings over that price point are taking longer to sell, making the upper end of the market more of a buyer’s market.”

New listings of homes for sale were up 1.9 percent in the area during October, compared to a year ago. That increase was driven by a 16.4 percent increase in listings in Waukesha County. Listings were down in the other three counties in the metro area.

However, inventory levels continue to dip, demonstrating a buyer’s market. The area’s seasonally adjusted inventory level (the time it would take to sell all of the homes on the market at a given time) for October was 3.8 months, compared to 4.5 months in October of 2017. An inventory level of 6 months is generally considered a balanced market.

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“To get the market to a balanced point, the four-county area would have to add 3,700 more units to meet demand, most, if not all, of those additional listings would have to be in the affordable, under $300,000 category,” Ruzicka said.

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