Regional home sales in August lag behind last year’s mark

By Matt Masterson - Freeman Staff

Sept. 11, 2014

MILWAUKEE - Home sales in the four-county Metropolitan Milwaukee real estate marketplace dipped slightly in August, according to a new report from the Greater Milwaukee Association of Realtors.

The report states there were 1,821 homes sold last month in the area - which is made up of Waukesha, Milwaukee, Washington and Ozaukee counties - compared with 1,862 sold in 2013, a 2.2 percent drop.

The biggest drop came in Ozaukee County, where sales in August decreased by 23 down to 128 compared with 2013. Waukesha County also recorded a drop of 4 percent (584 in 2013, 562 in 2014), while Milwaukee and Washington counties both saw minimal gains.

Listings also decreased for the first time in the last six months in August, as there were only 2,429 new homes added to the market. In August 2013 there were 2,492 listings. Washington County saw a 13 percent decline.

August was the eighth month in 2014 that saw lower sales than last year. However, the report states that last year’s sales were boosted by the sale of several distressed properties. This year’s buyers are more “traditional,” characterized as first-time buyers, families looking for a larger home and empty-nesters moving into a new home or condo.

Despite sales numbers dropping from this point a year ago, brokers and agents remain enthusiastic about the metropolitan real estate market, according to the report, mainly because of the quality of buyers. Other reasons for optimism include an increasing inventory, high buyer interest and sellers expectations of realistic prices.

Through August, GMAR is projecting sales for the year at approximately 16,331 units, which lag about 10 percent behind 2013’s totals, but would be about equal with 2012.