Greater Milwaukee Association of REALTORS®
Press Release

August Home Sales Up 1.7%

The increase in sales is particularly striking given that sales that occurred in August came from inventory that existed in June and July, when inventory was down 2.9% and 0.5%, respectively.

By - Sep 12th, 2017 02:07 pm

Home sales were up 1.7% in August in the Metropolitan Milwaukee market.

The increase in sales is particularly striking given that sales that occurred in August came from inventory that existed in June and July, when inventory was down 2.9% and 0.5%, respectively.  In other words, buyers who closed in August selected their homes from a pool of homes that existed in the earlier summer months.

August was the sixth month of the year that saw increased sales.  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 comprised 30% – 40% of the market this summer.

Through August, the 4 county market is 1% ahead of sales in 2016 (14,237 in 2017 vs. 14,100 unit sales in 2016).

County August Sales %

Change

2016 2017
Milwaukee 1,113 1,145 2.9%
Waukesha 628 621 -1.1%
Washington 224 228 1.8%
Ozaukee 152 160 5.3%
4 County Area 2,117 2,154 1.7%

Listings Up in August

August was only the 3rd month of the year with an increase in listings.

The growth in listings is a welcome change from what brokers have experienced.  The extra listings will help REALTORS® working with buyers searching for a home.

Based on a GMAR consumer survey conducted in May, some sellers stated they were holding off on listing until they could command higher prices.  The August data indicates that many of those sellers are satisfied with the prices their REALTOR® is indicating their house is worth.

Comparing 2017 to 2016, listings are up 0.7%, with 20,476 units in 2017 versus 20,324 units listed through August of 2016.

County August Listings %

Change

2016 2017
Milwaukee 1,409 1,455 3.3%
Waukesha 719 784 9.0%
Washington 254 249 -2.0%
Ozaukee 135 175 29.6%
4 County Area 2,517 2,663 5.8%

Tight Inventory

The seasonally adjusted inventory level for August was 4.9 months.  The seasonally adjusted level was 5.8 months in August 2016.

Subtracting the 2,140 listings with an active offer from current listings, presents an effective inventory level of 2.9 months.  A year ago, the same calculation showed August’s inventory level at 3.5 months.

While the increase in listings in August is welcome, the drought in homes available for sale is still critical, leading to buyer frustration, particularly among those searching for homes under $350,000. Buyers are seeing properties snatched up before they’ve had an opportunity to view them.

Many “move-in ready” homes are seeing multiple offers, but not the size or scale we saw in the early part of the last decade.  The early 2000’s were marked by buyers irrationally bidding up home prices by 10% – 20%, assuming they would reclaim the value as the market appreciated.

In the current market, buyers are bidding prices up, but they are constrained by their borrowing ability and their lender’s appraisal.

Where To Go

Buyers should seek the counsel of a REALTOR® in determining their best housing options, and sellers need a REALTORS® expert advice in making correct marketing decisions with their home.

The Greater Milwaukee Association of REALTORS® is a 4,000-member strong professional organization dedicated to providing information, services and products to “help REALTORS® help their clients” buy and sell real estate.  Data for this report was collected by Metro MLS, Inc. a wholly-owned subsidiary of the GMAR.

* Sales and Listing figures differ between the “Monthly Stats” and “4th qtr” (or year-end) because the collection of “Monthly Stats” ends on the 10th of each month; whereas the “4th qtr” is a continuous tally to 12/31.  For example, if a sale occurred on August 29th, but the agent does not record the sale until August 11th, that sale would not be included in the August sales figures (or any subsequent month’s total) but would be added to the annual total sales figure in the “4th qtr” total.

Mentioned in This Press Release

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