Metro Milwaukee housing market remains weak

The metro Milwaukee housing market remains significantly weaker than in previous years.
In August there were 946 home sales in the metro Milwaukee area, down 34.8 percent compared to 1,500 homes sold in August of 2009, according to MLS Inc. data.
Housing starts were also way down in the metro area, according to the latest data from Oshkosh-based MTD Marketing Services of Wisconsin Inc. There were 69 single family and duplex housing starts in the metro Milwaukee area in August, down 26.6 compared to 94 starts in August of 2009. Housing starts are far below the 2000-05 pace when there were more than 200 housing starts in August each year.
However, the metro Milwaukee housing market showed slight signs of improvement compared to the previous month. August sales were a 6.9 percent improvement compared to the 885 homes sold in July. The 69 housing starts was a bit of an improvement over the 65 housing starts in July.
The Greater Milwaukee Association of Realtors expects home sales to rise slowly this fall, said GMAR president Mike Ruzicka.
“Statistically speaking, August’s decrease in sales (compared to 2009) will probably continue through the rest of the year, because sales in the remaining months of 2010 are expected to be less than during the third and fourth quarters of 2009, which were fueled by the first-time home buyer tax credit,” he said.
The home buyer tax credit, which the federal government later extended to all buyers, expired at the end of April. Buyers have until Sept. 30 to close on the sales, but the sales contracts must have been signed by April 30.
As a result of the end of the home buyer tax credit, home sales were down significantly in July and August.

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