Milwaukee area home sales down 4 percent in March

Tight inventory blamed on drop

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Record year on track for Wisconsin housing market

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

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Milwaukee-area home sales were down 4 percent in March

For the first time in 14 months, home sales in the Milwaukee area were down compared to the same month a year ago. March home sales were down 4 percent compared to March of 2015.

The decrease in sales is being attributed to lack of inventory and real estate experts believe sales have already begun to rebound and will be up 4 to 5 percent in April.

“This does not have me worried at all,” said Mike Ruzicka, president of the Greater Milwaukee Association of Realtors. “This is unusual, but it’s a product of the tight inventory, not because of the waning excitement of buyers.”

In March, 1,461 homes were sold in the four county metro area, compared to 1,522 in March 2015. Despite the slight dip, last month was the second strongest March in nine years.

“In March, we had a lot of buyers, but sellers are not thinking about selling until they get their kids out of school,” Ruzicka said. “I’ve talked to some brokers and they said they are starting to get a ton of listing appointments.”

There was a bright spot last month, Washington County home sales were up 14.9 percent, led by strong sales in West Bend.

Ozaukee County took the biggest hit with sales down 22.5 percent in March. In Milwaukee County, sales were down 3.4, In Waukesha County, sales were down 6.9 percent.

March was the eighth consecutive month of decreased listings, going back to August of 2015.

Currently, there are 2,733 listings with an active offer and 7,608 listings available, equaling a three month inventory (the amount of time it would take to sell all of the homes on the market at a given time).  A general rule of thumb in real estate is that a six-month seasonally adjusted inventory level points to a “balanced” market.

“There are a lot of cases where there are multiple offers for properties,” Ruzicka said. “Having a move-in condition house is absolutely key.”

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