Region’s housing market decline continues

The number of homes sold in the metro Milwaukee area during June was 1,419, down 8.5 percent compared to June of 2010, and the number of homes sold in the area for the first half of the year was 6,047, down 15.5 percent compared to the first half of 2010, according to the latest data from the Greater Milwaukee Association of Realtors (GMAR).

New home construction also remains slow. There were 84 housing starts in June in the metro Milwaukee area, almost identical to the 83 housing starts of June 2010 and well below the market peak of 309 housing starts in June of 2004, according to Oshkosh-based MTD Marketing Services of Wisconsin Inc. For the first half of the year there were 429 housing starts in the metro area, down 10.25 percent in the first half of 2010.

The 2010 numbers are skewed by the federal homebuyers tax credits last year, which buyers could obtain if the closed prior to the end of June. But 2011 sales also trail 2009 levels by 10.3 percent in June and by 3.0 percent for the first half of the year.

The prices for homes sold also still has not hit bottom. For the first half of the year the average price of a home sold in the 8-county southeastern Wisconsin area was $168,682, according to GMAR data, down 9.2 percent from $185,792 for the first half of 2010 and down 6.3 percent from $179,970 in the first half of 2009.

The metro Milwaukee area has a 9.5-month supply of homes on the market, down from 11.0-month supply level in May, the GMAR said.

“A worry of brokers is that the overall economy and lending standards may suppress demand from absorbing more of the available supply in the market,” said Mike Ruzicka, GMAR president.

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