Greater Milwaukee Association of REALTORS: Milwaukee County leading region out of housing slump

Contact: Mike Ruzicka


August MLS Statistics Analysis

September 10, 2009 – Milwaukee County is leading the region out of the housing slump, posting a 5th straight month of higher sales than a year ago, according to housing statistics released by Metro MLS, Inc. today.

Metropolitan Milwaukee, consisting of Milwaukee, Waukesha, Washington and Ozaukee Counties, saw its 3rd straight month of positive sales activity with a 3.3% gain.

Milwaukee County accounted for a large portion of the regional gain, registering a 11.5% increase for August 2009 over August 2008.

Reduced prices leading to higher affordability has played a large role in getting buyers back into the market, but we cannot overlook three other significant factors: 1) The $8,000 home buyer tax credit; 2) Historically low interest rates; and 3) Plentiful supply of homes to choose from.

Waukesha County has seen some pretty dramatic swings this summer, after a 12.2% decrease in June, the county came back with a solid 15.7% gain in July; then, coming down 7.8% in August.

Washington County went up slightly by 1.4% in August, after decreasing 0.7% in July and increasing 12.8% in June.

Ozaukee County was down 15.4% in August, after showing a huge 63.9% gain in June, and a slight decrease of 4.9% in July.

Racine County registered a firm gain of 15.7% over August 2008, after a 1.3% increase in July.

Kenosha County came in with a 12.7% decrease over August 2008.

Walworth County was off 1.9%, indicating that prices are finally leveling out to the point that buyers are willing to become active; after a 29.2% decrease in July.

If buyers are trying to “read the tea leaves” and time the market, this is the bottom.

Buyers, especially first-time buyers, should not wait very long to jump into the market. Not only does the tax credit expire on November 30th, but the inventory of homes typically in the 1st time buyers price range have been the fastest selling category all summer.

Sellers still facing pressure to reduce their prices, as buyers take their time reviewing several properties before making an offer that may be below the asking price. However, if a property is priced correctly, sellers are countering with small price reductions, if any.

In these confusing times, consumers should remember to “Start With A REALTOR®” before consulting with a lender or other housing professional.

The Greater Milwaukee Association of REALTORS® is a 4,000-member strong professional organization dedicated to providing information, services and products to its members to help them help their clients in buying and selling real estate.