Home sales decline 15.4% in March
All 4 metro Milwaukee counties have decline in houses sold

Freeman Staff

April 12, 2019

 A four-unit, multi-family home at 432 Barstow St. in Waukesha displays a for sale sign Thursday, but already has an offer to purchase.
Katherine Michalets/Conley Media

WAUKESHA — The real estate market took a hard hit in March across the metro Milwaukee region with all four counties having a reduction in sales compared with one year ago.

“While the first quarter of 2019 was the weakest since 2016, it was also the third strongest quarter in the last decade. The market appears to be slowing, but it is slowing down from a high level,” according to Thursday’s report prepared by the Greater Milwaukee Association of Realtors President Mike Ruzicka.

Washington County had the greatest decline at 21.8 percent, followed by Milwaukee County at 16.1 percent, when compared with March of last year. Waukesha County sales dipped 12.1 percent and Ozaukee County declined by 11.9 percent. The average for the four-county area was a drop of 15.4 percent for March, compared with March 2018.

First quarter comparative sales were also down compared with last March.

The four-county region declined 7.6 percent overall. Broken down, Washington County again had the biggest decline at 23.4 percent followed by Ozaukee County at 10 percent. Milwaukee County’s sales went down 7 percent and Waukesha County slid 2.2 percent.

“The metropolitan area has enjoyed a strong sales market since the beginning of 2015. The influx of first-time buyers — accounting for roughly 40 percent of the market — empty nesters downsizing, historically low interest rates, and a strong regional job market, all provide fuel for a hot market,” Ruzicka wrote.

Listings, however, did increase in Washington County in March — the only one of the four continues to see a rise.

Washington County’s new listings went up 10.8 percent in March compared to March 2018. Ozaukee County declined 16.8 percent, followed by Milwaukee County at 11.7 percent and Waukesha County at 9.7 percent.

“Listings seemed to perk up in the fourth quarter of 2018 and in January 2019, but not enough to provide any serious relief. Through the first quarter of 2019 listings were down throughout southeastern Wisconsin, by double digits in some areas,” Ruzicka wrote.

During the first quarter, average home sale prices increased in two of the four counties: Milwaukee County at 3.3 percent to $176,552 and Waukesha County at 7.2 percent to $328,252. On the other hand, Washington County declined 5.1 percent to $247,722 and Ozaukee County went down 3 percent to $332,110.

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