Wisconsin Home Sales Sink In May As Pandemic Continues

Latest Figures Show Year-To-Year Sales Drop Of Over 25 Percent

for sale sign
In this Wednesday, April 1, 2020 photo, a “For Sale” sign stands in front of a home that is in the process of being sold in Monroe, Wash., outside of Seattle. Elaine Thompson/AP Photo

Wisconsin home sales saw a dramatic drop in May, according to a new report from the Wisconsin Realtors Association.

The report shows existing home sales were down 25.8 percent last month compared to May 2019.

Home sales figures reflect closings of activity that began six to eight weeks earlier, meaning the May report shows the effects of the state’s “Safer at Home” order on sales activity.

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Economist David Clark of Marquette University, who consults on the WRA reports, said the decline wasn’t a surprise, given that the economy is officially in recession. Still, he said it’s significant considering that May is the first month of a typical year’s peak homebuying season.

“May is typically a month in which we sell an awful lot of homes,” Clark said. “We still sold some — we sold about 6,400 homes in total — just far less than is usually the case in the month of May.”

The peak months for home sales in a typical year are May, June, July and August.

Clark said while the pandemic’s effect on sales is likely to continue through at least the next few months, continued low mortgage rates may offset some of the declines.