Milwaukee housing market avoids national collapse

Home values have held up better in the Milwaukee area than most major metro areas in the U.S., according to New York-based Radar Logic Inc.‘s monthly housing market report.

Radar Logic says homes in the Milwaukee metro area sold for $113.28 per square foot in October, down 1.4 percent compared to October of 2008. However, Milwaukee was tied with Columbus, Ohio, for having the lowest price decline of the 25 metro areas tracked by Radar Logic. Only Denver was the only metro area that had a home sale price increase (5.2 percent).

The metro areas with the biggest home sale price declines over the last year are: Las Vegas, down 29.6 percent; Detroit, down 27.1 percent; Miami, down 21.9 percent; Chicago, down 20.2 percent; and Phoenix, down 19.9 percent.

The one-year home price decline for the composite index of the 25 metro areas tracked by Radar Logic is 7.5 percent.

Milwaukee had the lowest 2-year price decline, of 0.2 percent, and the second highest 5-year price increase, 2.0 percent, according to Radar Logic.

Quinn Eddins, director of research for Radar Logic, and statistician Matthew Zogby say the U.S. housing market is not going to collapse again in 2010, as some predict.

“While we acknowledge that serious troubles remain in the nation’s housing markets, we think predictions of a second collapse of the housing market are exaggerated,” Eddins and Zogby said in the Radar Logic report. “Our view is that recent trends point to continued stability in the housing market, and if efforts to ease foreclosures can and do succeed, there could be significant recovery in housing values in spring 2010. Housing demand is strong, as indicated by recent increases in sales activity. On the supply side, we are encouraged by falling inventories of new and existing homes as well as declines in new home permits and starts. The principal threat to the housing market is the looming inventory of distressed homes. Delinquencies have reached their highest levels in decades. Foreclosures and bank repossessions are also elevated from historical levels, but they have not kept pace with rising delinquencies. As a result, there is a glut of seriously delinquent mortgages awaiting foreclosure and a glut of foreclosed homes awaiting auction and/or repossession. We think it is likely that distressed properties will enter the housing market at a controlled rate that can be absorbed by the existing housing demand without drastically reducing prices.”

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