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Report: Home Sales In Wisconsin Break Winter Record

Mortgage Rates Could Be Encouraging People To Buy Homes In Off-Months

House for sale
John Bazemore/AP Photo

The latest Wisconsin Realtors Association report shows home sales in Wisconsin hit a record high between December and February with more than 13,400 homes sold during what are typically slower months for sales.

The record is since 2005, when the association recalibrated its data systems, according to the Wisconsin Realtors Association.

Although the Wisconsin Realtors Association reports tight housing inventories remain across the state, a healthy economy and low unemployment rate continue to boost demand.

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For the month of February, there was a 5.8 percent increase in home sales compared to the same time last year with a smaller available inventory.

Marquette University economics professor David Clark says housing sales tend to slow nationally during the winter because of less predictable weather conditions. But slowly increasing mortgage rates in the state could be spurring sales in the off-months.

“On occasion what that tends to do is get some people who are trying to time what’s the best time to buy a house from the standpoint of getting favorable loan conditions — they can actually get them off the fence and have them ultimately decide it’s time to make the jump,” Clark said.

Compared to a year earlier, the median home price in February rose 7.4 percent to $166,000.

“So we have strong demand conditions and we’ve got housing that while it has been going up in a relatively rapid rate in terms of prices, is still relatively affordable,” said Clark.

Clark predicts housing prices will continue to increase in the short-term and the limited supply of homes for sale will likely remain the primary constraint in the housing market.

Long-term, Clark says once baby boomers choose to sell their homes, inventories should rise.