Wisconsin Home Sales Cool as Inventory Remains Tight

Frustrated buyers, fewer homes and rising prices has been the trend throughout the year in Wisconsin’s housing market. In the fourth quarter, there is no sign the inventory shortages that have caused sales to wane will subside.

Throughout the first 10 months of the year, home sales were down 2.2 percent compared to the same period last year. The median prices were up 6.4 percent to $184,000, according to the Wisconsin Relators Association.

“Inventories remain very tight statewide and it’s still a strong seller’s market in most regions of the state,” Jean Stefaniak, chairman of the WRA Board, said in a written statement.

The state had 4.5 months of supply in October, which is down from 5.2 months in October 2017. It is considered a “balanced” market when there is six months worth of supply. Where there are too few homes for buyers to choose from, which has been the case since last year, it is considered a seller’s market.

David Clark, an economics professor at Marquette University, said one of the reasons fewer homes are on the market is because of baby boomers who did not move 10 years ago, during the Great Recession. Those boomers continue to stay put now as older millennials are looking for homes, Clark said.

“Are those aging baby boomers now going to stay stay in their homes forever? Well not forever, but they may well have decided they will stay put until health situations mandate some type of a change,” Clark said.