Wisconsin Housing Market Picks Up In 2021 Where It Left Off Last Year

Strong January Home Sales Follow 2020's Record Figures

for sale sign outside a home
An “I’m Taken” placard rests on a real estate for sale sign outside a home, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020, in Manchester, N.H. Charles Krupa/AP Photo

Wisconsin’s housing market is following last year’s record activity with strong January sales.

The latest report from the Wisconsin Realtors Association shows 4,659 sales of existing homes, up 9.8 percent from the figure in January 2020.

Interest rates have started to tick up slightly from last year’s record lows, but economist David Clark, of Marquette University, said that’s not likely to have a major effect on the market.

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The biggest challenge for Wisconsin real estate, he said, is the sharp decline in homes on the market.

“We’re down 35 percent from where we were this time last year,” he said. “At some point, and especially as you move into those higher volume months, the number of homes that are available for sale just shrinks to the point where it’s going to start influencing significantly the number of closings.”

The inventory, or homes available for sale, has been falling in Wisconsin for years, with the market’s balance tilting heavily toward sellers in cities and their surrounding areas.

Now, “there isn’t a county in the state where the inventory is balanced,” Clark said. “It’s just been a consistent and continual erosion of inventories.”

The high demand and falling home supply pushed prices higher in January. The state’s median home price rose 10.5 percent to $210,000.