Home sales increase for 12th consecutive month
Listings at 16-year low for January

By Katherine Michalets - Freeman Staff

Feb. 11, 2016

WAUKESHA - On Wednesday, the Greater Milwaukee Association of Realtors reported that despite the chilly temperatures in January, home sales in the region were hot. In fact, it was the twelfth straight month of increased  home sales compared to the prior year; however, inventory remains very tight.

For the four-county metro Milwaukee area, which includes Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Washington and Ozaukee counties, home sales increased 13.8 percent in January compared to the same month in 2015. In total, 933 homes sold in January compared to 820 in January of 2015. Comparing the numbers to 2014, sales were up 10.3 percent.

Washington County had the most significant increase in sales in January at 24.7 percent with 96 homes sold compared to 77 the year before. Fifty-nine homes sold in Ozaukee County in January, a 15.7 percent increase compared to January 2015. Milwaukee County had an increase of 13.6 percent and a total of 542 homes were sold in January, while Waukesha had the smallest increase at 9.8 percent and 236 homes sold compared to 215 in January 2015.

The start of 2016 was a continuation of a more traditional market with many first-time buyers, move-up buyers with children looking for a larger home and empty-nesters moving into a new home or condo. 

The GMAR reports that “all indicators point to that trend continuing in 2016, and like 2015 it appears that it will also be a year of tight inventory.”

Listings were also mostly down in the region with Milwaukee County the only that saw an increase and a small one at that -1 percent.

Washington County had a decline of 11 percent in listings in January, followed by Waukesha County at 6.5 percent and Ozaukee County at 5.7 percent. The average for the four-county metro area was -2.6 percent.

January was the sixth consecutive month of decreased listings, going back to August of 2015.

According to the GMAR report, “Listings at this time of year are usually low due to the holidays, kids still in school, and cold weather, among other factors, and last month was true to form. However, the degree to which listings are down has not been seen in this market for some time. January’s 1,788 listings is a 16-year low for that month. The last time listings were lower was January of 2000 when 1,784 homes were listed. Last month was also the sixth January in a row of declining listings, year-over-year, down from 2,719 at the height of the recession in January 2010.”

Mike Ruzicka, president of the GMAR, said that with tight inventory in the metro Milwaukee area, there will be price pressure in the coming months.


Email: kmichalets@conleynet.com