Contact: Mike Ruzicka
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Home Sales Up 24.8% in February
March 9, 2012 – The housing market continued its stellar start to 2012 in February, increasing 24.8% in the 4-county metropolitan area. February marked the 8th month in a row that sales increased by double-digits.
Brokers have been reporting a great deal of activity on their websites, at open houses and in showing requests since just after Thanksgiving 2011, which lead to increased closings in January and February. And, brokers are reporting even more activity in the first two weeks of March.
An unprecedented level of affordability and extremely low interest rates seem to be attracting buyers’ interest. The National Association of REALTORS® reported, “Housing affordability conditions have reached the highest level since recordkeeping began in 1970…. NAR’s Housing Affordability Index rose to a record high 206.1 in January, based on the relationship between median home price, median family income and average mortgage interest rate. The higher the index, the greater the household purchasing power.”
With employment figures improving in the state, consumer confidence also appears to be rising. Consumer confidence has been a missing ingredient in the housing market’s recovery.
A notable change in the market is that listings increased in February by 22.8%. Generally, new homes are placed on the market in greater numbers in the spring; however, listing levels increased dramatically leading up to, and well into, the recession beginning in 2007. Part of the Milwaukee market’s problem over the last 5 years was an overabundance of inventory. The market had been correcting that inefficiency, decreasing listings in 10 of the last 13 months.
The increase in inventory this time is not necessarily an unwelcome development. Brokers have reported a dearth of quality, “move-in” quality homes in some areas of the market. While the level of inventory is still historically high, a large chunk of current listings are distressed properties (e.g. short sale, foreclosure). Many listings added in February are more likely to sell in the short-term than sit on the market for a long time.
County-by-County Sales Analysis:
· Milwaukee County was up 21.1% in sales over 2011 (493 units vs. 407 units)
· Waukesha County was up 32.1% vs. 2011 (222 sales compared with 168)
· Washington County was up 33.3% compared to 2011 (68 vs. 51)
· Ozaukee County was also up 20.0% vs. a year ago (42 units vs. 35 units)
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Please feel free to call me for any of your real estate needs, including an online market if you are a seller, or finding a home in Waukesha County, JEFFERSON County, Washington County, Dodge County, Milwaukee County. Real Estate in Waukesha County is an excellent investment!
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