Waukesha County led March home sales in four-county area, data shows

By Emily Topczewski - Special to The Freeman

April 15, 2015

 This house at 131 S. James St. is listed for $160,000. Home sales in the metropolitan area jumped dramatically in March.
Charles Auer/Freeman Staff

WAUKESHA - Waukesha County led a four-county area in home sales with a 29.4 percent increase in March, according to data from the Greater Milwaukee Association of Realtors.

422 homes were sold in the county last month, compared to 326 homes sold in March last year. The four-county area - comprising Milwaukee, Waukesha, Washington and Ozaukee counties - saw a 25.6 percent increase in home sales overall. A total of 1,522 homes were sold during March, compared to 1,212 homes sold during the same time last year.

Milwaukee County saw a 25 percent increase from 691 to 864 home sales. Washington County increased sales from 115 to 134 homes sold and Ozaukee County had sales increase from 80 to 102.

“The 2015 market is solid, thus far,” said Mike Ruzicka, president of the GMAR. He noted that the performance in March is partly explained by the balance of low inventory levels and a healthy, “traditional” market.

The four-county area saw a 9.2 percent rise as the first quarter closed, with 3,272 homes sold compared to 2,996 homes sold in 2014. Waukesha County saw the highest increase - 16.3 percent - from 763 to 887 homes sold.

There is a better inventory this year, Ruzicka said, up 10.2 percent in March.

“A little more volume in listings is helping to satisfy strong buyer demand for homes,” he said, “although demand is still outstripping supply.”

March was the second month in 2015  with an inventory increase, although Ruzicka said brokers are reporting that inventory is still tight, particularly among quality, move-in-ready properties.

The seasonally adjusted inventory level for March is 7.1 months, a leap from both February’s 6.4 month level and the 6.7 level from March 2014. Waukesha County also saw a 5-percent increase in the average sale price of properties.

Despite the positive trends this year, Ruzicka said the market does have its challenges - particularly, tight credit standards and low inventory.

“Nonetheless, there were more positives than negatives in the first quarter,” he said, “and the rest of 2015 is shaping up to be very good for real estate.”

Projecting for coming quarters, Ruzicka said judging by the current strength of demand and higher supply, sales could rise about 6.7 percent ahead of last year.