Metro Milwaukee home sales increase 10.6% in December
11th straight month with sales growth

By Katherine Michalets - Freeman Staff

Jan. 13, 2016

MILWAUKEE - Home sales improved again in December with an increase of 10.6 percent for the metropolitan Milwaukee area compared to the same period in 2014. December was the eleventh consecutive month with a growth in sales and the best December in eleven years, according to data released Tuesday by the Greater Milwaukee Association of Realtors.

In total, 1,385 homes were sold in December 2015 compared to 1,252 in December 2014. Comparing the numbers for last month to 2013, sales were stronger by 18 percent (1,174 in 2013).

December 2015 was the strongest December the metro Milwaukee area has seen since 2004 when 1,433 units were sold.

Milwaukee County saw the most significant increase at 14.5 percent in December, compared to Washington County with a 13.2 percent increase and Waukesha County with an 8.6 percent increase. Ozaukee County didn’t fare well with a 13.7 percent decline, according to the data from GMAR.

In 2015, the real estate market in the metro Milwaukee area had 19,611 total sales, compared to 17,749 in 2014, a 10.5 percent increase, the GMAR reported Tuesday. Earlier in the year, 2015 was predicted to finish about 9.8 percent above 2014; however, the strong sales throughout the year boosted the total year percentage.

Washington County had the largest increase for 2015 compared to 2014 with 19.3 percent uptick. Waukesha County went up 12.8 percent followed by Ozaukee County at 10.5 percent and then Milwaukee County at 7.7 percent, according to the GMAR.

“In 2014, brokers were delighted as the market changed from a recessionary one, filled with distressed properties, to a more ‘traditional’ market in, characterized by first-time buyers, move-up buyers with children looking for a larger home and empty-nesters moving into a new home or condo,” said Mike Ruzicka, president of the GMAR. “2015 saw a continuation of that traditional market, but will also be remembered as a period of very tight inventory.”

New home listings continued to decline in December, which was the fifth consecutive month with a reduced number of listings. According to the GMAR, new listings for 2015 were very low at 0.5 percent. As a result, inventory remains tight. The seasonally adjusted inventory level for December was 5 months, a drop from November’s 5.7 month level.  The seasonally adjusted level was 6.3 months in December 2014.

The average sale price in all four metro Milwaukee counties was up in 2015. Washington County was the leader at 9.7 percent, followed by Milwaukee County at 7.1 percent, then Ozaukee at 4.2 percent and then Waukesha County at 2.4 percent.