Metro Milwaukee home sales tumble in July
4-county region drops 5.2% due to lack of inventory

By Katherine Michalets - Freeman Staff

August 11, 2017

A home for sale on the corner of Greenfield Avenue and Broadway in Waukesha.
Katherine Michalets/Freeman Staff

In recent history, home sales have been strong every month, but this July they took a downturn in the metro Milwaukee area. According to a report released Friday by the Greater Milwaukee Association of Realtors, home sales for the four-county metro Milwaukee area consisting of Waukesha, Washington, Ozaukee and Milwaukee counties declined 5.2 percent in July compared to July 2016.

Washington County took the biggest tumble at 14.8 percent, followed by Ozaukee County at 6.3 percent. Waukesha County dropped 1.6 percent and Milwaukee County went down 5.2 percent.

Mike Ruzicka, president of GMAR, said the decline was not due to a slowing down of the market, but because there weren’t enough homes for sale to meet the demand of would-be buyers.

“There is no concern about the decrease among Realtors. The underpinnings of the local economy are solid, with employment, interest rates, and lending all performing well. The strong economy is producing interest in home buying, particularly among first-time buyers, who brokers estimate comprise about 40 percent of the market this summer,” reads the report.

Through July, the four-county market is 0.8 percent ahead of sales in 2016, 12,083 in 2017 versus 11,983 unit sales in 2016, according to the GMAR.

July was the fifth month of 2017 that had a decrease in property listings for the four-county area.

Milwaukee and Washington counties increased listings, but there were not enough units available in Waukesha or Ozaukee counties to satisfy buyer demand; particularly homes under $350,000, according to the GMAR.

In Washington County, home listings increased 7.6 percent and in Milwaukee County they went up 2 percent, whereas in Waukesha County they declined 5.3 percent and 11.4 percent in Ozaukee County.

“Based on a GMAR consumer survey conducted in May, sellers stated they were holding off on listing because of concerns about policy changes in Washington, D.C. (i.e. mortgage interest deduction, taxes, health care), recent remodeling to their current home, and some are holding out for higher prices,” according to the report.