MADISON - State
homes sales cooled during October to levels of the same month a
year ago, according to data released by the Wisconsin Realtors
October sales were just 0.1 percent lower than
October 2012, representing the first time since July 2011 that a
monthly sales figure did not increase over the previous year.
Year-to-date sales in the state are 12.4 percent higher than the
first 10 months of 2012.
somewhat surprising, these numbers are not totally unexpected,”
said Steve Lane, chairman of the WRA board of directors. “We are
comparing sales between two very strong years and two very
sales softened in all regions in October versus the same month a
year ago. The strongest regional growth was in the Southcentral
region, where sales were up 3.9 percent. They rose 2.2 percent
in the Northeast region.
region, which includes the Milwaukee-Waukesha metro area, was
nearly unchanged, with sales rising 0.6 percent. The West region
dropped 0.5 percent, the Central region declined 12.5 percent
and the north was down 5.3 percent.
“When we see
regional volatility, it’s more common that the North and Central
regions have fewer sales given they have significant second home
markets,” Lane said.
Lane said that
the National Association of Realtors Pending Home Sales Index, a
barometer of future home sales in the U.S., has been declining
throughout the June-to-September period.
third-quarter sales were very strong even in light of the
changes in this index, and so it’s too soon to draw too many
conclusions from one month of data,” Lane said.
rates expected to taper off eventually
that even if this were an aberration, Wisconsin’s growth rates
of existing home sales were expected to moderate over time.
“The base for
comparison has been essentially growing at double-digit rates
for more than two years, and that can’t continue indefinitely,”
that some of the decline also might be attributed to rising
mortgage rates. Thirty-year fixed mortgage rates have gone up
more than 1 percent between January and September this year
before dropping about 30 basis points in October.
“We need to
remember that most of the October closings locked their interest
rates in between late August and the first half of September,
just as these rates were peaking,” he said.
sales cooled, the median price continued to rise in October; it
increased 5.6 percent to $142,000. Through the first 10 months
of the year, median prices rose 7.5 percent compared with the
first 10 months of 2012.
median price of a Waukesha County home was $230,000, an increase
of 1.1 percent over October 2012. Through October, the county’s
median price was $235,000, a 4.4-percent jump.
“The change in
median prices was similar to that seen in September, although
price increases have been moderating over the last few months,”
said Michael Theo, WRA president and CEO.
are up 5.4 percent through the first 10 months of the year.
Housing Affordability Index, which measures the percent of the
median-priced home that a buyer earning the median family income
can afford to buy given current mortgage rates and a 20 percent
down payment, stood at 225 in October. That’s slightly up from
the September figure but down from its level of 257 in October
housing remains an excellent value, and given the increase in
mortgage rates over the course of this year, this is a good time
for potential buyers to get into the market to secure the most
value,” Theo said.