Wisconsin Housing Market Heads Into Peak Buying Season Trailing Last Year’s Sales

Declining Inventory, Strong Demand Hamper Sales, Push Home Prices Higher

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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

Home sales in Wisconsin continue to lag behind last year’s figures, according to the latest report from the Wisconsin Realtors Association.

There were nearly 6,300 sales of existing homes in the state last month, down 9.7 percent from April of last year.

Total 2019 sales are down 7.8 percent from the first few months of April 2018.

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Economist David Clark of Marquette University said demand for homes remains high, but the declining number of houses for sale in the state means buyers are often competing with each other.

“A buyer can still find a home that fits their needs,” he said. But “this is really a situation where if you snooze, you lose, as they say. You’ve got to be ready to move quickly.”

The one bright spot in the report was a 7 percent increase in new listings, though the total number of homes for sale was down 7.7 percent from last April.

Clark said if new listings continue to rise through the busy months of May through August, some of the pressure on Wisconsin’s housing market could be released.

“On the other hand, if it was more of an aberration, then I think what we’ll expect to see is continued tightness in terms of sales,” he said. “That is, fewer sales than this time last year.”

Home prices continued to rise amid strong demand for homes and declining inventory.

The median home price in the state stood last month at $195,000, up 8.3 percent from the year before.

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