December home sales rise in county
Sales in Ozaukee County in 2014 decline 4.2% from a year earlier

By Gary Achterberg - News Graphic Staff

Jan. 27, 2015

OZAUKEE COUNTY — Home sales in Ozaukee County increased 5.6 percent in December, compared to the last month of 2013.

The increase was just slightly below the average for the four-county metropolitan area, where sales increased 6.6 percent between this December and a year earlier.

In Ozaukee County, there were 95 homes sold last December, compared to 90 in December 2013. Across the four-county area, there were 1,252 sales, up from 1,174. For the metro area, it was the strongest December since 2005 when 1,311 units were sold, according to the Greater Milwaukee Association of Realtors.

For the year, the market saw 17,749 total sales, compared to 18,203 in 2013, a 2.5 percent decline. Earlier reports pegged 2014 finishing about 10 percent behind 2013. The strong sales during the last four months of the year gave the year-end tally a boost, the GMAR said.

For Ozaukee County, year-end sales declined 4.2 percent. There were 1,167 sales in 2014, compared to 1,218 sales in 2013.

Brokers reported a different kind of market early on in 2014. They were delighted by the market’s change from one filled largely with distressed properties – short sales and foreclosures – in 2013 and the years prior, to a more “traditional” market, characterized by first-time buyers, move-up buyers with children looking for a larger home and empty-nesters moving into a new home or condominium, a news release said.

December was the 10th month of increased listings in 2014. However, listings in December are usually very low due to the holidays and 2014 was true to form, accounting for about onethird of the listings seen at the height of the market, the GMAR said.

In Ozaukee County, the number of December listings declined 9.3 percent from the prior year. There were 49 in 2014 and 54 in 2013. Across the fourcounty area, December listings increased by 3.1 percent. There were 1,085 in 2014 and 1,052 in 2013.

The seasonally adjusted inventory level for December was 6.3 months, a drop from November’s 7.1-month level. The seasonally adjusted level was 6.1 months in December 2013.

The average sale price in all four counties increased in 2014. Milwaukee County led the way with the largest percentage and actual dollar gain. The average sale price in Milwaukee County in 2014 was $149,607, a 6 percent increase from $141,598 in 2013.

In Ozaukee County, the average sale price increased 1 percent from $282,220 in 2013 to $284,239 in 2014.

The total dollar value of sold properties in the four-county metropolitan area in 2014 was just under $3.6 billion, a 1 percent increase from 2013.

In Ozaukee County, the total value of sold properties was $331.7 million in 2014, a 4 percent decrease from $343.7 million in 2013.

“Despite all the positive news in 2014, the market does have its challenges,” GMAR said in its report. “Tight credit standards, low inventory and fewer first-time buyers – possibly related to student debt – all may be weighing the market down.”

Gary Achterberg can be reached at .