Pandemic Slows May Home Sales

The severe economic consequences of COVID-19 had a significant impact on existing home sales in May, according to the Wisconsin Realtors Association (WRA).

In its monthly analysis of home sales, the WRA found May home sales fell by 25.8% on a year-over-year basis. Median prices continued to rise at a robust pace, increasing 6.2% to $214,000 in May relative to May 2019. Comparing the first five months of 2020 to that same period last year, existing home sales slipped 5.5% and the median price rose 7.9% to $205,000.

“When the president announced the National Emergency in mid-March, followed shortly thereafter by the Safer at Home order by the governor, we expected to see home sales fall dramatically beginning in May,” said WRA Chairman Steve Beers. Regional sales in Wisconsin were remarkably consistent with five of the six regions down between 20.2% and 25.5% over the past 12 months. Only the Southeast region dropped by a slightly higher margin, falling 30.5% over the May 2019 to May 2020 period.

“Home sales that closed in May were likely under contract in late March or early to mid-April, and this is the time when a lot of potential buyers and sellers decided to sit tight,” said Beers. He noted that we’re still in for a rough summer in terms of home sales, but the re-opening of the state economy should help.

“Wisconsin Realtors are carefully following CDC guidelines to ensure buyer and seller safety; and while inventories remain tight, there are homes available, and mortgage rates have never been better,” he said. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to 3.23% in May, which is a new record low.