State homes sales up in 2011 but prices down

Home sales in Wisconsin during 2011 increased 0.2 percent compared to 2010, but median prices fell 6.4 percent to $132,000, according to the Wisconsin Realtors Association.

“Remember that home sales were pushed into the first half of 2010 due to the Federal Homebuyer Tax Rebate program, so we expected the first half of 2011 to look weak and the latter half to look stronger by comparison,” said Rob Keefe, Chairman of the WRA Board of Directors. “What is encouraging is to see monthly home sales continue to outpace last year’s levels.”

The year finished strong with December home sales in the state up 11.3 percent compared to December of 2010.

“We are seeing some promising signals in the state labor market,” said WRA President and chief executive officer, Michael Theo. “We are actually seeing private sector job growth in excess of the lost local government employment for 2011, and with net job growth outpacing the growth in the labor force for the year, the rate of unemployment has been falling. If home sales are to continue to grow, we will need more robust job growth going forward, but a falling unemployment rate is a welcomed sign.”

The inventory of unsold homes in the state fell to 12.5 months in December, the first time it has been below 13 months since the WRA began tracking inventory levels since May of 2010.

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