Milwaukee housing market regains balance

After a long slump since the housing market crash that led to the Great Recession, the metro Milwaukee housing market is finally regaining a balance between supply and demand.

Homes sales in the four county metro Milwaukee area were up 44.2 percent in April, according to the Greater Milwaukee Association of Realtors (GMAR).

There are 13,157 active listings in the MLS at this time, according to GMAR. That means there is 8.5 months of inventory (the time it would take to sell all of the homes on the market), down from 10.5 months of inventory in March and 15.4 months of inventory in January.

A balanced market is generally considered a supply of about 6-8 months. Inventories have dropped as home sales have picked up while many home owners are reluctant to put their houses up for sale as prices have been falling.

“Inventory has gone down,” said John Horning, executive vice president of Brookfield-based Shorewest Realtors. “That is leading to some situations where we have multiple offers on a property. In some cases buyers are making offers above asking price. That’s something we haven’t seen in four years.”

“Buyers are starting to find out they have to have a little more sense of urgency,” Horning said. “Well maintained homes that are priced correctly are not sitting on the market very long.”

Home prices in the region should finally be ready to rise within the next year, Horning said.

“We’ve plateaued,” he said. “I don’t think prices are going down anymore. Probably by next year priced will start going up, depending on location.”

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