GMAR reports rising home sales amid tight market

The Greater Milwaukee Association of Realtors is reporting the first two-month streak of rising home sales since 2022, though many more homes are needed to satisfy buyer demand in the region. 

Metro-area home sales rose 11.2% over the year in February, according to the latest GMAR report. 

A total of 975 homes were sold in Milwaukee, Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington counties last month, compared to 877 in February 2023. But GMAR notes home sales in February 2023 were “extremely” low. 

“So, while the market is going in the right direction, any jubilation about it has to be tempered,” report authors wrote, adding sales numbers would be much higher if more homes were available. 

Meanwhile, the group describes new activity in home listings as “particularly good news,” as 1,351 new listings were logged last month. That’s up 14.8% from 1,177 in February 2023, and marks seven months in a row of increasing listings — the longest streak in a decade, according to GMAR. 

Still, the positive trend is occurring within a tight market, the group notes. The four-county area remains “hundreds of listings behind” the level needed to meet demand. Due to these conditions, the average home price increased 7.9% in February, from $323,084 to $348,659. 

“It does not appear that the market will achieve any kind of balance to benefit buyers in the near future,” report authors wrote. “To reach a balanced market (commonly understood to be six months of inventory) the four county area needed 5,110 additional units in February.” 

While the region is falling well short of that level, new home construction is on the rise, the report shows. A total of 145 new home construction permits were taken out in the metro area in January, compared to 98 permits one year prior. GMAR says that’s a “solid” 48% increase over the year, and 38% higher than the 12-month average. 

See the full report.