Wisconsin saw a record number of existing home sales in July, just months after a historic sales decline at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new report from the Wisconsin Realtors Association found 9,649 sales last month, topping the record of 8,969 set in July 2019.

Economist David Clark of Marquette University said solid June sales and record July sales will help offset the more than 25% sales decline in May, at the start of the peak homebuying months.

"If you’re going to see a bounceback, seeing it in the summer months is where you want to see it, because that’s where so much of the housing activity takes place," he said. "By and large, this is a very welcome sign, to see an improvement in the month of July."

Sales for 2020 are now trailing last year's figures through the first seven months of the year by only 2%.

Newsletter signup for email alerts

Clark, who consults on the WRA reports, said buyers have been taking advantage of mortgage rates that hit record lows at the outset of the pandemic.

"The low interest rates was a contributing factor, and the fact that some people had to delay buying (during the start of the pandemic), and some people certainly had to take their homes off the market as well," he said.

Clark said while there’s still much uncertainty in the broader economy, the amount of homes on the market has gotten so low that even in uncertain times, the demand for homes still outpaces supply.

That declining number of homes for sale continued to push home prices up in July.

Wisconsin’s median home price rose 10% last month, to $226,400.

Wisconsin Public Radio can be heard locally on 91.3 KUWS-FM and at wpr.org.

Wisconsin Public Radio, Copyright 2020, Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System and Wisconsin Educational Communications Board.