Low mortgage rates lead to strong summer home sales in Wisconsin

Five straight months of declining mortgage rates boost summer sales after dramatic declines in spring

For sale sign
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Wisconsin home sales rose in August, capping a strong peak home-buying season for 2020.

The report last week from the Wisconsin Realtors Association found 9,324 sales of existing homes last month, up 0.7% from August 2019.

The state saw a 2.8% increase in home sales for the summer compared to last year.

Economist David Clark of Marquette University said falling mortgage rates gave the market a boost following the dramatic sales drops at the start of the coronavirus pandemic in the spring.

"Mortgage rates in August dropped to 2.94%. They’ve never been below 3%," he said. "We’ve consistently hit these record low mortgage rates for each of the last five months."


The strong demand coupled with the limited number of homes for sale drove the median price of a home up 14.1% to $235,000 in August.

Declining housing inventory has been an issue in Wisconsin for years, but Clark said the market is showing signs of adjusting, with the number of permits for construction of new homes now starting to rise.

"New construction has been relatively flat in the state," he said. "It’d been trending upward slightly, but this is a more substantial bounce."

The August figures mean home sales for the year are only 1% behind those of the first eight months of 2019.

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

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

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