May home sales down 7.7%; listings, inventory make progress

By Dwayne Butler - Freeman Staff

June 11, 2014

WAUKESHA - May marked the fifth consecutive month that existing home sales were behind in the four-county metropolitan Milwaukee real estate market, according to data released Tuesday by the Metropolitan Listing Service, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Greater Milwaukee Association of Realtors.

Home sales were behind 7.7 percent in the market, which includes Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Washington and Waukesha counties. The region sold 1,697 homes in May compared with 1,838 in May 2013.

Waukesha County was behind 7.5 percent from the same month a year ago, and Milwaukee County trailed by 5.8 percent. Washington County had the biggest dropoff of the quartet of regions, at 16 percent. Ozaukee County was the lone market with positive numbers, at 1.6 percent.

Despite a slower market, the GMAR said it is not hearing any concern from area brokers. In a statement from GMAR President Mike Ruzicka, the agency is “very confident that, while a little slower than last year, the market is on solid economic ground with unemployment at 6.1 percent and agents staying very busy helping sellers and prospective buyers. We are receiving several reports of multiple offers on properties.”

Listings placed on the market increased by 2.6 percent in May, the fourth straight month of growth. Waukesha County had eight fewer listings than a year ago. Ozaukee County had more than 12 percent more listings, Milwaukee County 3.4 percent and Washington County 2.8 percent.

The inventory level for May stood at 8.0 months, slightly above April’s 7.5-month level. However, the GMAR said if the 2,194 listings with an active offer are subtracted from released listings of 10,141, the inventory level drops to 5.6 months. That’s an improvement from the 5.2 months in April, but still a sign of market tightness, the GMAR said.