This house, at 812 E. Broadway
in Waukesha, is listed for $169,900.
Cold and snow slowed home sales in February.
Charles Auer/Freeman Staff
WAUKESHA - The bitter cold temperatures and
record snowfall across Wisconsin impacted the real estate market
For the second straight month, home sales dropped
as Wisconsin recorded its coldest winter in decades, according
to an analysis of the housing market activity released by the
Wisconsin Realtors Association on Monday.
Existing home sales dropped 10.1 percent when
compared with February 2013. Another contributing factor was the
7.4-percent price increase over the same 12-month period.
Historically, February accounts for just 5.6
percent of total annual sales in a normal year, whereas a
typical summer month accounts for between 10.2 percent and 11.5
percent of annual sales, according to the WRA.
“We live in Wisconsin. We expect slow sales in
February," WRA Board of Directors Chairman Steve Lane said in a
statement. “But we broke many records for cold temperatures this
winter, so it’s not surprising this year’s February sales were
off the 2013 pace,” he said.
Home sales dropped in every part of the state,
with the South Central, Central and Northeast regions down
between 5.2 percent and 9 percent in February versus the same
month last year. The West region was down 11 percent.
The Southeast region, which includes Waukesha and
Milwaukee counties, as well as six other counties, dropped 12
The North region was especially hard hit, with a
reduction of 16.3 percent.
“The decline in sales in the North is certainly
understandable given their snow totals and bitter cold
temperatures this year,” Lane said.
The nasty weather wasn't the only factor in the
sales decline. Median prices reached $130,000 in February and
interest rates continue to inch forward, the WRA reported.
A year ago, the average price of a home in
Wisconsin was $121,000. Meanwhile, the average rate for a
30-year fixed mortgage was 4.28 percent, according to
bankrate.com. A 15-year rate stood at 3.32 percent.
“Median prices have grown consistently since
March of 2012 and mortgage interest rates have been climbing and
are now almost a full percentage point higher than this time
last year,” Lane said.
The median price has increased in all but one
month over the last two years, the WRA said.
“It’s good to see prices growing, but we hope to
see a moderation in the rate of median price appreciation,” WRA
President and CEO Michael Theo said in a statement.
Theo did point out that although the increase in
median prices was very similar to the 7.2 percent increase for
all of 2013, the fourth quarter of 2013 saw a median price
increase of 5.7 percent and January median prices rose just 2.4
percent relative to January 2013.
Housing remains affordable despite the recent
price increases, according to the February Housing Affordability
Index, which shows the percent of the median-priced home that
the household with median family income can afford to buy
assuming that borrower has a 20 percent down payment and is
financing at current mortgage rates.
The February index stood at 245 in February,
which the WRA said still indicate strong affordability. A year
ago in February, the index stood at a peak level of 294.