July Home Sales Drop In Wisconsin, But That Doesn’t Mean The Market Has Softened

Monthly Figure Down From Record Sales Last July; Sales For The Year Still Ahead Of 2020

'Sale pending' sign outside of a house
In this Aug. 21, 2012, file photo, the exterior of a house with a pending home sale sign is viewed in Palo Alto, Calif. Paul Sakuma/AP Photo

A 14.2 percent drop in home sales might seem like cause for concern at first glance, but there’s more to the story.

There were about 8,510 sales of existing homes in the state last month, according to the latest report from the Wisconsin Realtors Association. That is down from the 9,915 sales reported in July 2020.

That’s because home sales last year rebounded sharply in the summer, following the lockdowns of the spring, said economist David Clark, of Marquette University, who produces the monthly housing reports in conjunction with the association.

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The July dip in sales, he said, wasn’t a surprise, and demand for homes this year remains strong.

“Our average days on the market (for a home) statewide has hit its lowest point since we started tracking that data in 2009,” Clark said.

The average is 65 days, down from 90 days last July.

That demand, coupled with an 11 percent decline in the number of homes for sale, pushed the median price of a home in the state up 10.7 percent in July, to $250,000.

Sales for 2021 are ahead of last year’s totals by 3.9 percent through the first seven months of the year.

The market picked up in the second half of 2020, so it may be that this year’s sales don’t keep up from now until December.

But, as with July’s figures, the year-to-year comparison may not tell the whole story of the housing market in Wisconsin.

“We’re comparing (this year) to a unique year,” Clark said. “All in all, the housing market is in pretty solid shape right now.”