Metro Milwaukee home sales down 15.4% in March as market slows

Sales down in 9 of last 12 months

Home for sale
Record year on track for Wisconsin housing market

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

Home sales in metro Milwaukee decreased 15.4% in March, the ninth time in the last 12 months that the number of sales declined from the same time in the previous year, according to data from the Greater Milwaukee Association of Realtors.

A total of 1,402 homes were sold during the month in the four county area, which includes Milwaukee, Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington counties, compared to 1,657 during March 2018.

All four counties in the metro saw sales declines, as did Racine and Walworth counties. Kenosha County was the only county in southeastern Wisconsin with an increase in home sales in March.

For the entire first quarter, home sales in the metro area were down 7.6% and down 6.7% for all of southeastern Wisconsin.

“While the first quarter of 2019 was the weakest since 2016, it was also the third strongest quarter in the last decade,” said Mike Ruzicka, president of the Greater Milwaukee Association of Realtors. “The market appears to be slowing, but it is slowing down from a high level.”

The number of listings in March was down 9.7% in the metro area and 11% across southeastern Wisconsin. Milwaukee County listings were down 11.7% from last year while Washington County was the only county to see an increase, up 10.8%.

Seasonally-adjusted inventory levels (the amount of time it would take to sell all of the homes on the market at a given time) reached 3.2 months in March, compared to 2.9 months in February. After accounting for listings with an active offer, the inventory levels were flat at 1.6 months in both February and March. Six months of inventory is considered a balanced market.

Average sales prices in the metro area were up slightly, just 0.4%, in the first quarter compared to last year. Prices were up 3.3% in Milwaukee County and 7.2% in Waukesha County. Washington County, down 5.1%, Ozaukee County, down 3%, both saw decreased home sale prices in March.

Prices across southeastern Wisconsin were down 3.2% in March with Walworth County experiencing a sharp decrease of 26.1%.

Racine and Kenosha counties both saw increases in average sale price.

Within the metro area, sales were strongest in Glendale, St. Francis, West Allis, Menomonee Falls, New Berlin and Sussex.

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Arthur covers banking and finance and the economy at BizTimes while also leading special projects as an associate editor. He also spent five years covering manufacturing at BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.

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