Wisconsin Home Sales Rise In August

Despite Monthly Increase, Overall Sales In 2018 Running Slightly Behind Last Year

"For sale" sign outside a home
John Bazemore/AP Photo

Existing home sales in Wisconsin rose in August, even as the market has tracked slightly behind last year’s record sales for most of 2018.

The latest data from the Wisconsin Realtors Association found 9,101 sales last month, up 3.3 percent from the same period last year.

Despite the monthly increase, total sales through the first eight months of the year are down nearly 7 percent.

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Economist David Clark of Marquette University said the ongoing decline in homes on the market has hurt sales, while driving prices higher.

“Prices are up 5 percent in August of this year compared to August of last year, and that’s well above the rate of inflation,” Clark said. “The rate of inflation is running at about 2.9 percent.”

Clark said it’s not unusual to see sales growth in the summer, when the market is typically at its peak, but the market may see less of a slowdown in late fall and winter because demand is so strong.

“The question is, has that seasonal pattern moderated as buyers recognize, boy, if a home comes up at an inconvenient time of the year, I might better pounce on it,” he said.

The WRA’s reports for June and July found housing inventory was increasing after months of decline, raising hopes that the unusually low supply of existing homes was finally improving. But the latest report revised those inventory figures, saying that “a previously undetected coding error falsely indicated inventory improvements over the past two months.”

The limited supply and continued high demand for housing drove prices up again in August.

The median price of a home in Wisconsin stood at $189,000 last month, up 5 percent from August 2017.

The average number of days a house stays on the market in Wisconsin is now 93, down 9.7 percent from last August.