Metro home sales decline 5.8% in June
GMAR says market may have peaked

By KATHERINE MICHALETS - Freeman Staff

July 13, 2019

WAUKESHA — Home sales in the four-county metro Milwaukee area slowed for the month of June and the second quarter compared to last year, according to a Friday report from the Greater Milwaukee Association of Realtors.

Sales declined 5.8% for June compared to June 2018 and second quarter sales dipped 5% compared to the same period last year.

According to GMAR’s report, 2,232 homes were sold in June, which is 137 fewer than in June 2018, when 2,369 units sold.

“The drop is an extension of a slowing market the Metropolitan and Southeastern Wisconsin areas have experienced since May 2018. Since then, the market has only seen three months with positive home sales,” reads the report prepared by GMAR President Mike Ruzicka.

Home sales declined by 8.2% in Milwaukee County, 6.3% in Washington County and 2.9% in Waukesha County in June when compared to June 2018. Ozaukee County was the only county to see an improvement at 1.3%. During the second quarter, according to the report, 9,738 homes sold in the four-county metro Milwaukee area. That’s a decrease of 5% compared to 2018’s second quarter.

“The metropolitan area has enjoyed a strong sales market since the beginning of 2015. The influx of firsttime buyers – accounting for roughly 40% of the market – empty nesters downsizing, historically low interest rates, and a strong regional job market, all provide fuel for a hot market,” reads the report. “However, we may be at the front end of a slowdown. As the Federal Reserve contemplates a rate cut, declines in business and consumer confidence in the economy, and the Yield Curve inversion earlier this spring, it appears the macro-economic forces are wobbly.”

The report also shows that since 2015 most of the growth in sales was in the under $300,000 home market, although that has subsided recently. For Milwaukee County, home sales for under $300,000 in 2018 in June were 84% and were 83% in 2019. For Waukesha County, that price range made up 48% of sales in 2018 and 43% in 2019 compared to Washington County, where it made up 69% of the sales in 2018 and 64% in 2019. Finally in Ozaukee County, 41% of home sales in 2018 were at $300,000 or less compared to 46% in 2019.

Showing improvement in June was the number of new home listings, according to GMAR: “Listings were up a healthy 3.5% all over southeastern Wisconsin in June. The four-county area went up 93 units, 3.5%. The seven-county southeastern Wisconsin area was up 3.5%, or 125 units.”