WAUKESHA — The home selling
market for the metro Milwaukee market did not end on a high note for
2018 with a decline of 1.4 percent in year-over-year sales and the
month of December also dipping 10.8 percent when compared to last
December, according to data from the Greater Milwaukee Association
of Realtors on Monday.
The data showed that all four counties in metro Milwaukee, Ozaukee,
Washington, Waukesha and Milwaukee counties, had lower sales in
December compared to December 2017. Waukesha County had the biggest
decline at 15.3 percent, followed by Ozaukee at 11.3 percent,
Milwaukee at 9.4 percent and Washington at 4.9 percent.
According to the GMAR, 1,242 homes sold in December, which is 307
fewer than in December 2017, when 1,549 units sold.
Although December tends to be a slow month for real estate, GMAR
President Mike Ruzicka said that “the steep drop during a typically
slow month is primarily attributed to a lack of homes for sale and
increasing interest rates.”
For the fourth quarter of 2018, 21,060 homes sold, down 1.4 percent
from 21,357 units sold in 2017.
In the report, Ruzicka said that 2018 was a strong year for area
real estate despite the decline in sales and finishing a little
“Over the last three years, 2016, 2017 and 2018, the 4county
metropolitan market had over 21,000 sales. We have only been above
21,000 sales one other time this century, in 2005 (21,642),” he
Ruzicka said he anticipates the Federal Reserve to raise interest
rates to more than 5 percent in 2019 to try to keep the economic
boom going, but that would likely be a constraint on the demand side
of the real estate market.
“There is no sign on the horizon that the lack of listings under
$300,000 is going to be alleviated, which normally means prices for
those properties would be pushed up,” he wrote. “We saw this in
2018, as multiple offers were submitted within hours of a quality
property’s listing. $300,000 listings were ultimately selling for
$325,000 and even $350,000 as the market tightened.
“As some buyers are eliminated from the market due to rising
interest rates, demand will be lower than in recent years. That will
lessen the inflationary effect of multiple offers on desirable
properties. Therefore, price increases will probably be limited to
the low, single digits, around 2 percent to 3 percent. Unit sales
for 2019 will probably be slightly below 2018, somewhere in the
The average home sale price in metro Milwaukee increased during the
fourth quarter, for a total of 6.3 percent.
Broken down by county, Milwaukee County’s fourth quarter sale price
increased 6.9 percent to $188,107 and Washington County’s increased
by 9.9 percent to $260,183. In Waukesha County, home sale prices
increased 3 percent in the fourth quarter to $330,716 and Ozaukee
County went up 6.6 percent for a total of $353,184.