Wisconsin’s Tight Housing Market Loosening A Bit

After Months Of Declining Housing Inventory, New Listings Grew In October

Bunches and Bits {Karina} (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Wisconsin’s tight housing market is showing a few signs of loosening, according to new data from the Wisconsin Realtors Association.

The group’s latest figures show nearly 7,300 sales of existing homes in the state last month, up 4.9 percent from October 2016.

The number of new listings rose more than 4 percent after declining much of the year.

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Economist David Clark of Marquette University said housing affordability has been a growing concern in the state, which an increase in housing supply would help address.

“That will probably knock down some of those rather hefty price increases that we’ve been seeing over the last couple of years,” Clark said. “We’ve seen prices going up at two to three times the rate of inflation.”

The state’s median home price rose to $175,000 last month, a 6.1 percent increase over October 2016.

While Clark called the increase in new real estate listings encouraging, he warned a single month’s improvement doesn’t guarantee a trend.

And he said even if the state is about to see housing supply improve, Wisconsin should remain a seller’s market for some time, especially in urban areas.

“If you look at overall inventory levels, they’re at about 5.1 months,” he said. “But when you look at metropolitan counties, they’re at 3.9 months. Even if new listings continue to improve, it’ll take a while for this market to adjust to the point that it’s a buyer’s market as opposed to a seller’s market.”

Analysts say a market balanced between buyers and sellers has six months of housing stock available.

This year’s existing home sales have outpaced last year’s record figures by 1.1 percent through the first ten months of the year.