Wisconsin home sales rebound in July

Existing Wisconsin home sales rebounded in July after a poor showing in June, while median prices continued to escalate, according to data from Wisconsin Realtors Association.

Comparing July 2019 with July 2018, home sales rose 3 percent, and median prices increased 6.8 percent to $205,000 over that same period.

The year-to-date picture still shows sales down relative to the first seven months of 2018, although the gap has narrowed. Year-to-date sales of existing homes were 3.8 percent lower than last year, and the median price was up 7.1 percent to $197,000 compared to the first seven months of 2018.

WRA Chair Jean Stefaniak attributed the annual growth in sales to the continued strength of the economy, combined with historically low mortgage rates. She notes that the state unemployment rate, which stood at 3 percent in July, has been consistently low since January 2018, ranging between 2.8 percent and 3.1 percent. Meanwhile, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage continued to fall, slipping to 3.77 percent in July — down from 4.53 percent a year earlier.

“The good economy benefited nearly every region of the state, with home sales in positive territory compared to last year in five of the six regions,” says Stefaniak.

Inventories remained tight in the state, especially in the larger urban areas. There were just five months of supply statewide in July, but the metropolitan counties had just 4.1 months of available inventory.

However, new listings are moving in the right direction, rising 1.7 percent in July after falling the previous two months.

In Dane County, sales of single-family homes and condominiums for July 2019 and July 2018 varied by only one transaction, with 929 sales reported this year compared to 930 last year, according to the Monthly Statistical Reports from the South-Central Wisconsin Multiple Listing Service.  Year-to-date, total sales are 3.6 percent fewer than 2018.

As with the sales in Dane County, new listings for July were only one apart — 862 this year compared to 863 in 2018. Year to date, new listings in 2019 are 254 fewer than last year (-4.1 percent).

The supply of active inventory continues to be lean at just 2 months, which is basically unchanged from one year ago. Generally, a six-month supply is considered to represent a balanced market between buyers and sellers.

The median price for July rose 2.3 percent in Dane County compared to last July. In the year-over-year comparison, the median price has risen 4.1 percent to $286,000 compared to $274,900 for the previous one-year period.