Metro Milwaukee home sales up 10.8 percent in May

Home sales in the four county metro Milwaukee area were up 10.8 percent in May with 1,880 homes sold, compared to 1,697 homes sold in May of 2014, according to the latest report from the Greater Milwaukee Association of Realtors.

May home sales were up 34.2 percent in Washington County to 212, up  19.1 percent in Waukesha County to 579, up 3.8 percent in Milwaukee County to 963 and up 0.8 percent in Ozaukee County to 126.

May was the fourth consecutive month of sales growth for the metro area, according to GMAR.

“Overall, the market is functioning very well, with one exception. Buyers are very active and some homes in move in condition are receiving multiple offers. However, inventory is still tight,” said GMAR president Mike Ruzicka. “In many instances buyers need to make a decision on placing an offer on a home fairly fast, due to a limited number of homes available in their market segment.”

May was the fourth month of the year that saw listings increase, but listings in the metro arear are flat from a year ago with an increase of only 0.9 percent. The seasonally adjusted inventory level (the time it would take to sell all of the homes on the market at a given time) for May was 7.6 months, up from 7.3 months in April. The seasonally adjusted inventory level was 8.1 months in May of 2014.

“According to the law of supply and demand, we should see price increases, because a 0.9 percent increase in listings is not enough to satisfy market demand,” Ruzicka said.

Some home sales are falling through because of low appraisals, Ruzicka said.

“Some appraisers are using market data that is too old and does not reflect current market conditions, resulting in appraisals that do not reflect market conditions,” he said. “This is a lasting result of the credit crisis and recession, which forced lenders and appraisers to be defensive in their estimates. However, that market is no longer present in 2015.”

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