Wisconsin housing market continues to surge

Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 09:11 am

Warm temperatures and low interest rates are factors real estate industry experts say contributed to the continued strong housing market through October in Wisconsin.BT-RealEstate-121114-630x490-HouseForSale

Both existing home sales and the median sale price were higher last month than in October 2014, according to the most recent assessment of the housing market by the Wisconsin Realtors Association (WRA). Home sales rose 2.4 percent while prices increased 4.7 percent over last October, to a statewide median of $155,000.

For the first 10 months of the year, home sales totaled just over 66,347 — the strongest January-through-October sales pace since 2005, when 68,279 homes were sold. However, regional sales varied across the state in October.

Home sales rose in the more urban regions with sales up 6.3 percent. Sales increased 4.2 percent in the Southeast region and rose 1.9 percent in the Northeast. The strongest regional sales were seen in the Central region, which increased 8.4 percent.

In contrast, sales fell 5.9 percent in the West and dropped 5.7 percent in the North in October, relative to October 2014.

Wisconsin’s median price rose 4.7 percent to $155,000 for homes sold in October with all regions posting increases compared to last year.

The median price for a home in the eight-county region making up Southeastern Wisconsin was $169,250 in October, compared to $168,000 in October 2014. Last month 2,246 homes sold in Southeastern Wisconsin, compared to 2,155 October 2014.

Looking at just Milwaukee County, the median price for a home is $129,900, compared to $124,000 the same time last year. Sales are up slightly, from 817 in October from 807 in October 2014.

The state saw price increases ranging from 3.1 percent to 7.5 percent this October, compared to last October. Comparing the 10 month year-to-date period, all regions of the state showed increases ranging from 3.8 percent to 7.6 percent relative to last year.

“While prices have been rising, our housing remains very affordable,” said Michael Theo, WRA president and CEO. The Wisconsin Housing Affordability Index, which measures the fraction of the median-priced home that a buyer with median family income can qualify to purchase, stood at 230 in October.

The index assumes a 20 percent down payment and the remaining 80 percent financed with a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage.

“The index is essentially unchanged from last year, and that’s mainly due to the fact that mortgage rates are about a quarter of a point lower this year compared to last year,” said Theo.

The 30- year conventional mortgage was 3.8 percent in October, which is a mere half percent above the 44 year low of 3.3 percent for that rate in November and December of 2012.

“Interest rates are extremely favorable and are helping fuel this market,” Theo said.

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