Metro Milwaukee real estate market froze in February

Area home buyers hibernated in February as bitter cold weather hit the region. Home sales in the four-county metro Milwaukee area were down 10.1 percent in February compared to February of 2013, according to the latest report from the Greater Milwaukee Association of Realtors.

The cold weather that chilled the region in February contributed to the sales decline, GMAR President Mike Ruzicka said.

“For the second straight month the bitter cold is blamed for the (sales decline),” he said. “A decrease in sales is not unusual in the winter months, and given the numerous polar vortexes that have descended upon the market, buyers have decided to search online before going out.”

Homes sales in February were down 9.6 percent in Milwaukee County to 519, down 7.5 percent in Waukesha County to 210, down 9.5 percent in Washington County to 86 and down 25 percent in Ozaukee County to 48, according to the GMAR report.

Realtors expect home sales to pick up as the weather warms up, Ruzicka said.

“The market conditions were good in February, with the exception of the weather, which seemed to trump several factors that would seem to push the market into a more aggressive direction,” he said. “Interest rates, home prices, availability of listings, and active buyers are situated to fuel a robust market, which will probably arrive with warmer weather. Despite a slow market in January and February, area brokers expect the market to equal or beat the 18,203 unit sales (for all of) 2013 as the local economy continues to improve and expand.”

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