Wisconsin home sales up, prices down in third quarter

Home sales in Wisconsin were up 5.8 percent in the third quarter compared to the third quarter of 2009, according to a new report from the Wisconsin Realtors Association.
That is ahead of the 5.2 percent increase in the quarter for the Midwest and just behind the 5.9 percent increase for the entire U.S.
The third quarter increase is the first quarterly increase in Wisconsin home sales since the fourth quarter of 2007.
“We are finally seeing signs of recovery in the housing market,” said John Flor, chairman of the board for the Wisconsin Realtors Association. “This deep and lengthy recession has kept many buyers on the sidelines for the better part of two years.”
Low mortgage rate and the tax credit for first time home buyers has stimulated the market, Flor said.
“With mortgage rates in the 5 percent range and the tax credit putting up to $8,000 in the pockets of first time home buyers, the market saw a real boost,” he said.
In southeastern Wisconsin most counties had an increase in home sales during the third quarter:

  • Milwaukee County, up 9.4 percent
  • Washington County, up 6.4 percent
  • Sheboygan County, up 5.2 percent
  • Waukesha County, up 4.9 percent
  • Racine County, up 3.9 percent
  • Kenosha County, down 3.6 percent
  • Ozaukee County, down 5.3 percent
  • Walworth County, down 7.0 percent

However, the prices of homes sold were down 6.3 percent in the quarter. The median home price in Wisconsin fell to $148,000 in the third quarter.
“Over the past year we’ve seen a shift from higher priced homes to lower priced homes, so the median price naturally falls,” said William Malkasian, president of the Wisconsin Realtors Association.
Wisconsin home prices held up better than the nation as a whole, which had a reduction of median home prices, which declined 11.2 percent in the quarter.
“Wisconsin home prices are not nearly as volatile as we have seen in other parts of the country and so purchasing a home in Wisconsin remains a very stable way to build household wealth,” Malkasian said.
Every southeastern Wisconsin county had median home prices decline during the third quarter:

  • Kenosha County, down 13.6 percent, to $166,700
  • Washington County, down 12.8 percent, to $202,200
  • Milwaukee County, down 9.7 percent, to $155,000
  • Ozaukee County, down 8.2 percent, to $242,500
  • Racine County, down 8.1 percent, to $154,500
  • Sheboygan County, down 6.9 percent, to $136,500
  • Waukesha County, down 3.1 percent, to $242,300
  • Walworth County, down 2.0 percent, to $176,900

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