Wisconsin Home Sales Dip In August After July Bump

Sales Continue To Trail 2018 Figures Through First 8 Months Of 2019

a sign is displayed outside a house for sale
In this Jan. 4, 2019, photo a sign is displayed outside a house for sale in Pittsburgh’s Lawrenceville neighborhood. Keith Srakocic/AP Photo

Wisconsin home sales saw a drop in August after a sales increase the previous month.

The latest report from the Wisconsin Realtors Association found 9,045 sales of existing homes in August, down 2.1 percent from sales in August 2018.

The ongoing decline in home listings continues to hamper sales.

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Economist David Clark of Marquette University said the supply in and around cities is particularly low.

“If you’re looking for a place in rural Wisconsin, there’s lots of homes to find,” he said. “They’ve got about 8.8 months of supply, so there’s a buyer advantage there. But if you’re looking in cities and metropolitan counties, there’s only about four months of supply. Things are pretty tight there.”

The decline in inventory, coupled with continued high demand, pushed up home prices again in August.

The median home price rose 9 percent last month to $206,000.

“In normal types of circumstances, that would cause demand to trail off,” he said. “What’s been our saving grace has been the fact that these mortgage rates have been falling, and so they’ve kept our homes relatively affordable.”

In all, home sales for the first months of 2019 are down 3.2 percent compared to the same period last year.

Clark said it’s unlikely the market will see enough sales in the rest of the year to catch up to 2018’s figures, now that the busiest months of the home buying year have passed.

“As you get into October, November and December, the sales activity fall off,” he said. “You would have to exceed last year’s sales figures quite a bit to make up the gap that currently exists between 2018 and 2019. With that said, I think it’s going to be close.”