State home sales show modest decline
July average sales behind last year’s by 2.4%

By Dwayne Butler - Freeman Staff

August 19, 2014

A house at 905 Larchmont Drive is listed at $239,900. State home sales lagged
behind 2013 levels in July.

Charles Auer/Freeman Staff

WAUKESHA - Existing Wisconsin single-family home sales in July ran behind the same month a year ago even as median prices continued to rise.

The Wisconsin Realtors Association released its monthly report Monday, which showed July’s home sales were behind 2.4 percent compared with July 2013. The decline was attributed to robust home sales in July 2013, which were more than 17 percent above the July 2012 levels.

“Although sales fell short of the last year’s levels, it’s important to remember that 2013 was a very strong year for home sales in the state,” WRA board chairman Steve Lane said.

The WRA reported that 7,240 homes were sold in July 2014 compared with 7,417 in July 2013. Much of the state posted negative numbers, with the exception of the Central and North regions, which registered gains of 12.4 percent and 11.9 percent, respectively.

The Freeman reported last week that the Milwaukee-area real estate market, which includes Milwaukee, Waukesha, Washington and Ozaukee counties, was behind 0.8 percent in July.

Sales for the South Central region trailed 6.7 percent. The West region trailed 5.9 percent, and the Northeast region 3.9 percent.

On a whole, home sales through the first seven months of the year were behind 4.2 percent, the WRA reported. The Milwaukee-area region has sold 10,155 homes, but remains 6.4 percent behind the first seven months of 2013.

The WRA reported that with the exception of last year, home sales for the first seven months of 2014 have been the strongest since 2007, when the real estate market took a significant downturn because of the recession.

“The housing sales picture in Wisconsin is complex,” Lane said. “Sales were down 7.6 percent for the first five months of 2014 before they bounced back in June, raising 5.7 percent above June 2013. For July, home sales to be close to last year’s strong showing indicates the current market is solid.”

 

Median prices grow

Median prices in July 2014 showed modest and sustainable growth, with prices up 2.4 percent in July compared with July 2013. The median price also is up 2.9 percent year-to-date compared with the first seven months of 2013.

The average price of a home in July 2014 was $158,700. The average price for the year through July 31 stood at $147,000.

Home prices in July were 5.7 percent ahead in the Milwaukee-area market. The four-county region is up 2.4 percent over the first seven months of last year.

Every region in the state saw price increases in July except for the West (down 1.4 percent) and the North (no change).

“Midwest housing markets don’t tend to overheat like they do in other regions of the country, and that keeps our prices on a more even keel,” WRA President and CEO Michael Theo said.

 

Inventories inch ahead

The WRA reported that statewide inventories were slightly up to 10.2 percent in July, as there were 57,756 homes for sale. The inventory list includes residential single family, duplexes, condominiums and townhouse properties.

The agency reported that the metropolitan housing markets have less available inventory compared with rural counties, but there remains an ample supply of homes throughout the state to accommodate existing levels of demand.

Meanwhile, the number of new listings for July was behind 1.2 percent (11,620) from July 2013 (11,766), but year-to-date, the numbers are up 1.2 percent to 77,617.

The WRA believes much of the increase is because of normal seasonal patterns, as more homes are listed in the late spring and summer months compared with the fall and winter.

“Once the seasonality is accounted for, inventories have been quite stable since the end of 2012,” Theo said.

 

Affordability strong

Purchasing a home remains an affordable option for prospective buyers in the state. The Wisconsin Housing Affordability Index was at 209 in July 2014 compared to a revised 212 in July 2013.

The rate is determined by the median-priced home that a buyer with the median family income and 20 percent down payment can afford to buy at current mortgage rates.

“This is a conservative measure because there are some creditworthy buyers who can buy their first home with much less than 20 percent down,” Theo said.

Theo also indicated that realtors throughout the state are reporting renewed interest among young buyers. A recent survey of buyers and sellers conducted by the National Association of Realtors revealed that 38 percent of homes were sold to first-time buyers, which is close to the historical average of 40 percent.

“The recession and relatively slow recovery may have deferred the younger buyers’ transition to owner occupancy, but they haven’t given up on the dream of owning a home,” he said.

www.wra.org

Email:
dbutler@conleynet.com

 

Ozaukee County home sales decline in July
By Gary Achterberg - News Graphic Staff
 


OZAUKEE COUNTY – July home sales in Ozaukee County declined when compared to a month ago, but real estate brokers voiced confidence in the health of the market.

The data is in a report released last week by the Greater Milwaukee Association of Realtors.

There were 135 sales in Ozaukee County last month, 10 fewer than in July 2013. That’s a 6.9 percent decrease. There were 167 new listings in Ozaukee County in July, compared to 165 in July 2013, a 1.2 percent increase.

The decline in home sales in Ozaukee County outpaced the 0.8 percent decline that occurred in the four-county metro area of Milwaukee, Waukesha, Washington and Ozaukee counties. There were 1,962 home sales last month, compared to 1,978 the same month a year ago.

Milwaukee County was the only county in the region with an increase in sales. The 1,044 closings last month, compared to 991 a year ago represent a 5.3 percent increase.  Washington County notched the biggest decline of 10.8 percent – with 181 sales, compared to 203 sales a year ago.

Washington County was the only county in the four-county region with a 6.5 percent decline in new listings in this July compared to the same month last year. Milwaukee County led the region with a 3.8 percent increase.

The average for the region was a 2.4 percent increase. That is the sixth month in a row that the number of listings for the region showed an increase over the same month last year. The 2,703 new listings in July pushed total listings in the market to 12,030.

The seasonally adjusted inventory level for July was 8.4 months, just behind June’s 8.5-month level. The seasonally adjusted level was eight months in July 2012.

If the 1,746 listings with an active offer are subtracted from current listings, the inventory is effectively six month, a slight improvement over June’s 5.8-month level. A year ago, the same calculation showed July’s inventory level at 5.7 months.

The GMAR is projecting sales for the four-county area for the year will fall in the vicinity of 16,331 units, about 10 percent behind 2013 but basically even with 2012. Brokers have said that a sizable percentage of past years’ sales were distressed properties, but in 2014 they are seeing more “regular” and “solid” sales, generally characterized as young, first-time buyers, move-up buyers with children looking for a larger home and empty-nesters moving into a new home or condo.

The GMAR also released information on municipalities within Ozaukee County. Here are details:

- Cedarburg – There were 89 home sales between Jan. 1 and June 30, 2014. The average sale price was $274,441 and the average days on market was 95. During the same six-month period in 2013, there were 106 sales with an average price of $302,593 and an average of 113 days on market.

- Grafton – There were 101 home sales between Jan. 1 and June 30, 2014. The average sale price was $237,440 and the average days on market was 109. During the same six-month period in 2013, there were 101 sales with an average price of $206,607 and an average of 97 days on market.

- Mequon – There were 154 home sales between Jan. 1 and June 30, 2014. The average sale price was $380,711 and the average days on market was 110. During the same six-month period in 2013, there were 152 sales with an average price of $435,575 and an average of 125 days on market.

- Thiensville – There were 30 home sales between Jan. 1 and June 30, 2014. The average sale price was $140,377 and the average days on market was 124. During the same six-month period in 2013, there were 25 sales with an average price of $179,926 and an average of 105 days on market.

Gary Achterberg can be reached at gachterberg@conleynet.com.