Wisconsin Public Radio

Housing Prices Rising As Inventory Falls

Third quarter home sales fell 8.2% from last year, but it's still a sellers market

By , Wisconsin Public Radio - Oct 19th, 2021 11:41 am
Sold sign. Photo by Dave Reid.

Sold sign. Photo by Dave Reid.

It’s still a seller’s market in Wisconsin. And when homes go on the market, they sell.

The latest report from the Wisconsin Realtors Association found total sales through the first three quarters of the year were 1.5 percent higher than those in the same period last year.

But last month’s 8,470 sales of existing homes trailed the figures for September 2020 by 8.6 percent.

And third quarter sales fell 8.2 percent from last year, though economist David Clark of Marquette University, who releases the monthly sales reports in conjunction with the WRA, said there was a very good reason why.

“We are comparing to a record third quarter last year, so the fact that we slipped a little bit from that is not surprising,” Clark said.

Another big reason for the sales drop: the number of houses available for sale continues to fall.

Statewide listings fell 9.5 percent in September. Inventory is down in every region of the state.

But demand remains high, so houses with “FOR SALE” signs out front only stay on the market for 66 days on average.

The cost of buying a home in Wisconsin is rising, thanks to the high demand and limited supply.

The WRA report found the state’s median home price stood at $245,000 last month, up 6.6 percent compared to September 2020.

“Those higher levels of prices are going to ultimately have a dampening effect on demand,” Clark said. “That’s been moderated, though, by the fact that mortgage rates have been so low.”

And, he added, “6.6 percent is still a pretty healthy increase, but it’s not 10, 11, 12 percent. Hopefully we’re starting to normalize a little bit.”

As for the rest of 2021, home sales in the fourth quarter of the year are typically lower volume than the peak summer months.

It’s not clear yet if the state will see strong fourth quarter sales like those of 2020, when the market continued its rebound after the lockdowns and economic uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

“My guess is we’ll be in the neighborhood of last year,” Clark said, “but it won’t surprise me if we don’t end up with a record year this year.”

Wisconsin homes keep selling, even as prices rise was originally published by Wisconsin Public Radio.

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