Metro Milwaukee home sales down 8% in November

The number of home sales in the four county metro Milwaukee area dipped 8 percent in November compared to November of 2012, according to the latest data from the Greater Milwaukee Association of Realtors.

There were 1,106 sales in the four county area during November, down from 1,202 in November of 2012. Home sales were down 24.7 percent in Ozaukee County, down 15.9 percent in Waukesha County, down 7.9 percent in Washington County and down 0.6 percent in Milwaukee County.

“The decrease in regional sales was foreshadowed by a slowdown in foot traffic at open houses this fall,” said GMAR president Mike Ruzicka. “This is not an unusual development however, because the market often sees a slowdown in sales as the fall season wears on. While sales were down in comparison to November 2012, they were up by 14.3 percent compared to (November of) 2011. The GMAR does not see the November report as a sign of future performance, but a regular seasonal slowdown that happens to be a few units less than in 2012.”

The number of homes listed for sale in November dipped to 1,318, down 8.2 percent from 1,505 homes listed for sale in November of 2012.

“The inventory level (the time it would take to sell all of the homes on the market) was down to 6.8-months, well below October’s level of 7.5-months,” Ruzicka said. “A year ago, the inventory level was at 10.3-months. If the 992 listings with an active offer are subtracted from current listings, the inventory level drops to a very tight 4.9-months.”

Part of the reason for fewer sales in November could certainly be explained by the low level of inventory available for buyers to select from, Ruzicka said.

“The low inventory level presents an opportunity for potential sellers to jump in the market,” he said.

The metro area’s housing market has generally been in balance this year, a contrast from the wild swings during the last decade between sellers’ markets and buyers’ markets, Ruzicka said.

“Sellers should not assume they will get whatever they ask for, and buyers should know the days of deep discounts are gone,” he said.

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