Wisconsin home sales on strongest pace in a decade

On pace to exceed 75,000 homes sold for the first time since Great Recession

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For the first time since 2005, Wisconsin is on pace to exceed 75,000 homes sold for the year, according to the latest report from the Wisconsin Realtors Association.

The state’s housing market continued its healthy pace of growth in November with both sales and median prices higher than November 2014.

November home sales increased 3.4 percent, and the median price rose 3.4 percent to $150,000, according to the association.

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The first 11 months of 2015, sales were up 11.3 percent statewide with every region showing gains of between 10.6 percent and 12.1 percent.

In southeastern Wisconsin, the median price from November 2014 to November 2015, has remained the same – $160,000.  Home sales have increased 3.8 percent in the region, with 1,686 homes sold in southeastern Wisconsin during November 2015.

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Racine County has seen the most improvement. The median price increased from $123,900 in November 2014 to $144,750 in November 2015 – an almost 17 percent gain. The number of home sales in Racine is also up 20.6 percent, from 141 in November 2014 to 170 in November 2015.

The median price of a Wisconsin home rose to $150,000 in November, which is 3.4 percent higher than the level in November 2014, and year-to-date, the median price is up 5.4 percent compared to the first 11 months of 2014.

Waukesha County had the highest median price in southeastern Wisconsin at $244,500. Milwaukee County had the lowest at $120,500.

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The association expects mortgage rates to slowly rise in 2016, now that the Federal Reserve Board has begun raising short-term interest rates.

“We’ve really benefited from low interest rates, but the Fed is signaling they are serious about keeping inflation in check, and that’s a good thing,” said Michael Theo, association president and chief executive officer.

The Federal Reserve announced a 0.25 percent increase in the Federal Funds Rate for the first time in seven years and indicated that it would gradually push this rate upward over the course of the next three years.

“Raising interest rates will surely move some potential buyers off the fence and into the market,” Theo said. “With rates still in the 4 percent range, this is a good time to buy a home even though it may mean moving during the winter months.”

Read more economic data reports in the BizTracker.

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