Limited Housing Supply Hampers March Wisconsin Home Sales

Demand Remains Strong, But Number Of Listings Continues To Fall

sold sign in front of house
Seth Wenig/AP Photo

The number of homes for sale in Wisconsin continues to fall, hampering sales volume and putting additional pressure on real estate prices.

The latest report from the Wisconsin Realtors Association says sales fell 2.3 percent last month compared to March 2017.

Overall housing inventory in March was down 17.1 percent over the same period, and the number of new listings dropped 12 percent.

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Economist David Clark of Marquette University said those figures suggest supply will remain an issue through the busy real estate period between May and August.

“It certainly doesn’t suggest that we’re likely to see a rather substantial increase in available supply when one of the best leading indicators of that — and that’s new listings — doesn’t seem to be increasing at this point in time,” he said.

The high demand and limited supply led to a 7 percent year-to-year increase in the median home price, which stood last month at $174,900.

Clark said there are indications that the supply crunch will eventually ease.

He said new home construction continues to increase, and eventually a larger number of older homeowners will downsize or move into other types of housing.

But he doesn’t expect current market conditions to change in the short-term.

“Four to five years? Yeah, I suspect our inventory challenges will largely address themselves,” Clark said. “But in the short term, it’s going to be tight for the year, there’s no doubt about that.”