Can Wisconsin Home Sales Keep Pace With Last Year’s Records?

January Through August Sales Ahead Of 2020 Despite Lagging Figures In Peak Home-buying Months

house for sale sign
John Bazemore/AP Photo

In 2021, Wisconsin home sales have been ahead of the record sales in 2020. But will the market stay on a record pace for the rest of the year? That’s not clear yet.

There were 56,503 existing homes sold between January and August in Wisconsin, according to the latest report from the Wisconsin Realtors Association. That’s up 2.7 percent from sales of the same period last year.

But sales in the peak home-buying months of this year have lagged behind 2020.

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The report shows 8,958 sales of existing homes in August, down 6.3 percent from the sales of August 2020.

David Clark, an economist at Marquette University, who releases the monthly home sales reports in conjunction with the association, said the supply of homes, which has been falling for years in Wisconsin, has constrained sales.

It also pushed home prices up 6.4 percent in August, to $250,000.

But the economy overall, he said, remains in good shape for the housing sector.

“Mortgage rates are under 3 percent; that’s the fourth month of that being the case,” he said. “The state economy still has a pretty low unemployment rate, 3.9 percent. We also have a pretty high labor force participation rate.”

That’s led to strong demand for homes. With the number of homes still declining, Clark said sellers are finding buyers very quickly.

“Average days on the market is 65 days,” he said. “That’s down from 88 in August of 2020, so realtors are moving homes at a relatively brisk pace.”

But can the market keep up that brisk pace for the rest of the year?

According to Clark, last year’s record might prove hard to break.

“The inventory problems are keeping us from selling more than we otherwise would,” he said.