Real estate data released by the Wisconsin Realtors
Association shows the state housing market had a strong
finish to 2014.
home sales were 2.1 percent higher compared with
December 2013, according to the WRA on Monday. Median
home prices were 4.3 percent higher to $145,000 over the
same time frame.
Overall, the WRA reported that 2014 home sales finished
just 1.5 percent behind 2013. However, median prices
were higher in 2014, up 3.1 percent to an annual
statewide rate of $148,000.
“Despite a slow start due to harsh winter weather early
in the year, 2014 rebounded nicely and ended with an
excellent December and a very good final quarter of the
year,” said Dan Kruse, WRA board chairman.
Michael Theo, president and CEO of the WRA, was
encouraged by the strong fourth quarter, its best since
2005, he said, which was prior to the start of the Great
percent price increase over the year is good news. For
three years in a row, home prices have kept pace with
inflation without seriously impacting housing
affordability,” said Theo, noting the annual rate of
inflation throughout 2014 ranged between 1 and 2
percent. “This is a sustainable growth pattern.”
Meanwhile, median home prices continue to rise. David
Clark, a professor of economics at Marquette University,
told an audience in Brookfield last week that prices are
up nationally by 5 percent. In Wisconsin, home prices
have not returned to pre-recession levels, but they have
made up considerable ground since the first quarter of
2012; they are up in 33 of the last 34 months.
contrast, the average median-priced home in 2007 stood
at $162,400, according to the WRA. That figure fell by
nearly 19 percent to $131,800 in 2011, it added.
you consider that prices in 2007 were likely inflated as
a result of looser lending practices, we are probably
much closer to a normal price today given current
lending standards,” Theo said.
Overall, Theo said “the market is finally getting back
to normal in a number of ways.” He said the first
indicator was the drop in foreclosures, which were down
26.5 percent in 2014 when compared with 2013, and are
essentially at pre-recession levels for the first time
since the recession began, according to the WRA.
told, the state had 11,439 foreclosures in 2014.
the availability of foreclosed homes presents buyers
with opportunities, they (foreclosures) can be toxic for
neighborhoods, so it’s good to see them back to normal
levels,” Theo said.
Another reason for normalcy in the market is that
statewide inventory levels are relatively stable and
have been since 2012. In December, 7.5 months of supply
was available, which is essentially a balanced statewide
market, according to the WRA.
Finally, the WRA says the labor market continues to
improve with the unemployment rate falling to 5.2
percent in November even as the labor force has been
WRA is optimistic about the housing market in 2015.
Working for the market are low interest rates, low
expected inflation because of falling energy prices,
high affordability in housing and a growing economy.
other hand, it’s likely mortgage rates will increase,
weighing down the affordability slightly.
feds have already signaled the possibility of raising
short-term rates as the economy continues to grow, and
this eventually will mean higher mortgage rates,” Theo
The number of state new listings in 2014 (115,242) was
only slightly behind the number in 2013 (115,318).
The number of closed sales dipped by 1.5 percent
(68,661) in 2014.
The median sales price of $148,000 in 2014 was 3.1
percent higher than $143,500 in 2013.
The Northeast and North were the only state regions to
post increases in home sales. The Milwaukee region,
which includes Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Washington and
Waukesha counties, was behind 2.8 percent in 2014 with
17,571 homes sold.
The average Milwaukee region price in 2014 was $170,000,
a 4.3 percent increase over 2013.
Source: The Wisconsin Realtors