home at 336 N. Racine Avenue is for sale at $179,900.
Charles Auer/Freeman Staff
BROOKFIELD - Real estate data discussed
during the Greater Milwaukee Association of Realtors’
economic summit Tuesday indicate that the housing market
is continuing to make strides after the Great Recession
and 2015 looks to be a promising year.
In fact, December was the market’s strongest
month in 2014 with home sales increasing 6.6 percent and prices
increasing in Waukesha, Washington, Ozaukee and Milwaukee
counties, according to data released by the GMAR on Tuesday.
1,252 homes sold in December compared to 1,174 during December
of 2013, according to the organization.
Overall, the GMAR reported that 2014 took a 2.5
percent dip in total sales with 17,749 properties sold, compared
to 18,203 in 2013.
Mike Ruzicka, president of the GMAR, gave a
presentation to a roomful of real estate agents at the
Brookfield Sheraton on Tuesday.
Ruzicka described 2014 as the first “normal” year
in a long time regarding properties on the market. He said the
market changed from one filled largely with distressed
properties (foreclosures and short sales) to a more traditional
market with first-time homebuyers, move-up buyers with children
looking for a larger home and empty-nesters looking to move into
a smaller home or condo.
Home listings also increased during the past 10
of 12 months for a total of 28,052 homes listed for sale in 2014
in the four-county region, Ruzicka said. That’s an increase of
3.8 percent compared to 2013.
moving in exactly the right direction’
Michael Kellman, senior vice president of
consumer lending at North Shore Bank, said there are some
upcoming changes that will affect real estate agents and buyers.
Some documents related to home sales are changing, including a
new loan estimate that will replace TIL and GFE forms, as well
as a closing disclosure that will replace the TIL and HUD1
forms. The changes will take effect Aug. 1 and are intended to
improve consumer understanding and prevent surprises at closing,
He also said statistics show that people with
strong credit scores are looking for houses and Wisconsin had
the highest average credit score in the United States in July
2014, according to the U.S. Department of Housing Reports.
“Things are moving in exactly the right
direction,” Kellman said of the real estate market.
David Clark, a professor of economics at
Marquette University, said median home prices are up nationally
by 5 percent with a median home price in November 2014 being
The real estate market also remains a buyers’
market, Clark said, with an average of 5.1 months of home supply
at the national level. Anything under six months is considered a
buyers’ market, he said. In Wisconsin during December, the
average time on the market for a home was 117 days, Clark said.
Overall, he is predicting that the housing market
will see modest growth in 2015. Working against the market is
that qualifying for a mortgage has become more difficult,
mortgage rates likely will increase slightly, there is a minor
reduction in affordability and student debt is weighing down
On the positive side, a Republican-controlled
Congress will dampen regulatory controls, there is no longer a
recession, modest economic and job growth are predicted and
there should be sustainable growth in home prices in excess of
home inflation in 2015, Clark said.
* 6.6 percent increase in home sales for
Waukesha, Washington, Ozaukee and Milwaukee counties when
comparing December 2014 to December 2013.
* 347 homes sold in Waukesha County in December.
291 homes sold in the county in December 2013.
* 2.5 percent decrease in home sales for the
four-county metro Milwaukee area during 2014. In Waukesha
County, home sales decreased by 1.2 percent for the year.
* $282,760 is the average home price in Waukesha
County in 2014, compared to $276,007 in 2013, a 2 percent
increase. Milwaukee County had the largest increase in 2014 of 6
percent when comparing the average sale price of $149,607 in
2014 to $141,598 in 2013.
Source: Greater Milwaukee Association of Realtors