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
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.