Milwaukee home sales rose 15.5% in January

The New Year started out where the old one left off for the Milwaukee housing market, as sales increased 15.5 percent in January in the four-county metropolitan area.

January marked the seventh consecutive month of double-digit sales increases for the region.

Brokers reported that web activity, open house attendance and showings were up in the latter part of 2011, which led to the increase in closed sales in January, according to the Greater Milwaukee Association of Realtors (GMAR).

Brokers are reporting the same kind of activity continued into January and the beginning of February.

Market dynamics continue to be dominated by: low prices, adequate supply of homes and extremely low interest rates.  However, the missing ingredient for so long – consumer confidence – seems to be slowly coming around, as January sales numbers demonstrate, the GMAR said.

Mother Nature has certainly been kind to the market this winter as well. With little to no snow, it is logistically easier for prospective buyers to look at more properties and sellers to keep their homes, driveways and sidewalks clean.

Another factor that Realtors are watching is that 10 of the last 12 months have seen a decrease in listings.  That indicator may portend a transition in the market that has already occurred in other areas of the country, and may result in modest price appreciation.

The January sales by county included:

  • Milwaukee County was up 12.4 percent in sales over 2011 (444 units vs. 395 units).

  • Waukesha County was up 16.3 percent over 2010 (193 sales compared with 166).

  • Washington County was up 4.9 percent over 2010 (64 vs. 61).

  • Ozaukee County was even at 0 percent growth vs. a year ago (36 units vs. 36 units).

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