A graph illustrates how housing sales and listings
have changed in the four-county region compared to a year
MILWAUKEE - Home sales continued their
positive climb in November, but the Wisconsin Realtors
Association also threw up a red flag that home listings
decreased for the sixth straight month.
According to the report from the WRA on
Thursday, November was the fourth consecutive month, and
sixth month of 2015, during which new listings
decreased. In November, the number of home listings
decreased by 4.5 percent. All four metropolitan counties
saw a decline in listings.
Home listings in Washington County
decreased the most at 17.4 percent, followed by Waukesha
County at 9.8 percent, Milwaukee County at 9.7
percent and Ozaukee County at 8.9 percent.
New listings affect inventory. For the
month of November, the seasonally adjusted inventory
level was 5.7 months, down from October’s tight 6.4
months, according to the WRA. In October 2014, the same
measurement was 7.1 months.
“However, when a seller accepts an offer
on their home, that home is generally out of circulation
as an eligible property to purchase,” according to the
report. “Therefore, subtracting the 1,316 listings with
an active offer from current listings (new and existing)
presents an effective inventory level of 3.8 months,
down from October’s 4.2 month level. A year ago the
same calculation showed 5 months of inventory.”
The report says a decline in home
listings is common during late fall.
“Nonetheless, tight inventory has led to
some upward price pressure. These conditions usually
encourage sellers to consider putting their house on the
market as the number of households emerging from the
dramatic decay in values from the recession continue to
rise,” reads the report.
Home sales continued to do well in
November. According to the WRA, the metro-Milwaukee area
had a 5 percent increase in homes sold with 1,182 homes
sold last month compared to 1,126 the same month in
2014. Washington County recorded the most significant
increase at 24.5 percent, followed by Milwaukee County
at 12.1 percent. Both Waukesha and Ozaukee counties saw
a decline. Waukesha County dropped by 7.7 percent and
Ozaukee went down by 15.6 percent.
“November was the tenth consecutive month
of positive sales this year. A good sign that the market
is running smoothly, but not overheating, because of
factors like limited growth in household income and
availability of credit,” according to the WRA report.
Some additional challenges for the real
estate market include the likely interest rates increase
by the federal government as soon as this month.
“A Fed interest rate increase will
probably have a mild impact on mortgage rates initially,
because the mere discussion of interest rate increases
(particularly inflation expectations) causes a reaction
in the long-term bond market, which has been mild thus
far. But, as rates tick up throughout 2016 they may
force buyers to ‘get off the fence,’” reads the report
from Mike Ruzicka, president of the WRA.