Real estate market closing the gap
Sales ahead for third straight month; Waukesha County has banner November

By Dwayne Butler - Freeman Staff

Dec. 12, 2014

WAUKESHA - Single-family home sales in the Milwaukee metro area were ahead for the third consecutive month, according to a release from the Greater Milwaukee Association of Realtors.

November sales were 1.8 percent ahead of the same month in 2013. A total of 1,126 homes sold in November compared with 1,106 during the same time frame in 2013 in the region, which includes Milwaukee, Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington counties.

For the year, the market has seen 15,895 total sales, compared with 16,457 in 2013, a 3.4 percent decrease.

Sales for the first eight months of 2014 were behind about 10 percent from the same stretch in 2013. But the gap has closed in the last three months, a GMAR news release said.

“That has occurred in light of a very different sales climate; 2013 was still a relic of the recessionary market, filled with distressed properties, whereas 2014 has evolved into a more ‘traditional’ one with first-time buyers, move-up buyers with children looking for a larger home and empty-nesters moving into a new home or condo.”

Waukesha County had a boom in November sales, finishing 21.6 percent ahead of the same month a year ago. Ozaukee County finished 10 percent ahead of last November, and Washington County was on par. Milwaukee County had a sharp drop in November; it finished 8.4 percent behind November 2013. The GMAR believes that to be an anomaly and not the start of a long-term trend.

Listings increased for the ninth consecutive month in 2014; it was ahead in November by 5.6 percent. The 1,458 new listings pushed the total year-to-date listings in the market to 26,658, 3.8 percent ahead of 2013.

“That is a notable statistic, because it shows sellers are confident about the price their house will fetch going into the slowest part of the year for home sales,” the GMAR said in the release.

The seasonally adjusted inventory level for November was 7.1 months, slightly behind October’s 7.9-month level. The seasonally adjusted level was 6.8 months in November 2013. If the 1,045 listings with an active offer are subtracted from current listings, the inventory is effectively 5 months, a slight decline from October’s 5.5 month level. A year ago, the same calculation showed November’s inventory level at 4.9 months.

The GMAR said the rebound in sales the last three months has boosted broker and agent enthusiasm heading into 2015. The agency projects sales for 2014 will fall in the vicinity of 16,995 units, about 3.6 percent behind 2013.