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Wisconsin sees record home sales in first quarter of 2017

Brady Carlson

Wisconsin Public Radio

The latest Wisconsin real estate figures show continued growth in home sales and upward pressure on home prices.

The March report from the Wisconsin Realtors Association shows March’s existing home sales were up more than 7 percent compared to March 2016.

The median home prices rose to $163,000, a year-to-year increase of 5.2 percent, due largely to limited supply.

The March sales bumped up the flat sales figures of January and February, creating a record first quarter of sales since 2005, when the WRA began tracking homes sales differently, according to the WRA.

There are just under five months’ worth of homes currently on the market — under six months of inventory is considered a seller's market.

The latest Wisconsin real estate figures show continued growth in home sales and upward pressure on home prices.

The March report from the Wisconsin Realtors Association shows March’s home sales were up more than 7 percent compared to March 2016.

The median home prices rose to $163,000, a year-to-year increase of 5.2 percent, due largely to limited supply.

The March sales bumped up the flat sales figures of January and February, creating a record first quarter of sales since 2005, when the WRA began tracking homes sales differently, according to the WRA.

There are just under five months’ worth of homes currently on the market — under six months of inventory is considered a seller's market.

Home supply is even tighter in the state's more populous communities, said David Clark, a Marquette University economics professor. 

"Urban areas really have very low inventory levels, about 3.8 months of inventory," Clark said. "Rural areas have quite a bit more inventory — they’ve got about eight months of inventory. It’s really a very different picture when you look at the cities versus the rural areas."

Clark said strong March figures suggest housing sales will stay strong through the busiest part of the real estate year, which lasts from May through August.

And with relatively few homes up for sale at any given time, that means those on the market are likely to sell quickly, Clark said. 

"When you’ve got lots of homes that are available to sell, you can take your time to make up your mind on a particular property," he said. "But when you’re in an environment like this, they’re just moving so quickly and those inventories are just so tight, that if you sit and think about it for too long, you might find yourself back in the market for another home because that one will have moved quickly."

Wisconsin Public Radio, © Copyright 2017, Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System and Wisconsin Educational Communications Board. More WPR news is available on KUWS-FM 91.3 or wpr.org.

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