Wisconsin housing rebound picks up steam

The Wisconsin housing market continues to strengthen, as existing home sales grew at a healthy 17.3 percent rate in July compared with the same month last year, and median prices rose for the fifth consecutive month, according to the most recent monthly report by the Wisconsin Realtors Association (WRA).

The median-priced home rose 2.1 percent to $143,000 compared with July 2011.
“While the pace of the national economic recovery has been weak this year, Wisconsin home sales have rebounded nicely over the past year,” said Rob Keefe, chairman of the WRA board of directors.
Keefe noted that Wisconsin home sales have been outpacing the nation. A recent report from the National Association of Realtors showed that U.S. existing home sales in the second quarter grew at 8.6 percent compared with the same quarter last year, whereas the Midwest region was up 16.2 percent over that same period.
By comparison, second quarter Wisconsin home sales were up 21.3 percent over last year.
“The July sales figures continued this trend of robust growth in home sales,” said Keefe.
Four of the six regions in Wisconsin grew by double-digit margins during July, with three regions up more than 20 percent for the month. Specifically, the Central and Southeast regions grew at just over 23 percent and the South Central region was up just over 21 percent. The Northeast region saw its home sales grow by 14.7 percent, whereas the growth in home sales was 4.2 percent in the North region and was 5.7 percent in the West.
“The slower growth in the North and West regions may be due in part to lower availability of starter homes in those regions,” said Keefe.
Although inventories remain solid, they have fallen significantly from the past year.
“We were sitting on nearly 18 months of inventory in July of 2011, and that has fallen to just under 13 months,” said WRA president and chief executive officer Michael Theo.


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