South Central Wisconsin real estate update from First Weber Group

October 18, 2010

South Central Wisconsin September Sales – Waiting for Buyers

Home sales fell in September compared to one year ago – as the market continues to await the return of the buyers post-tax credit. For Dane County, 287 homes and condominiums have been reported sold last month, compared to 465 in September of 2009. Year-to-date, 2010 sales are 3.8% behind the pace set in 2009.

Seasonal drop typical

A drop in September sales is not unexpected historically. For at least the past 10 years, sales from August to September have declined. Last month we reported August sales of 404 – therefore a drop of 29%. Over the most recent five years, the decline in sales from August to September has averaged 33%.

Prices up 14%

The median price in Dane County showed a sharp increase of 14% in September, from $195,000 last year to $222,950. For the first nine months of 2010, the median price is $205,000, which is slightly ahead of the annual median sales price for 2009 of $202,000 and within close contact of inflation rates.

Homes vs Condominiums

When breaking out the above figures between Dane County single family homes and condominiums, single family homes sales fell 37% and condominium sales fell slightly more at 42%. Median prices for single family homes rose 3.4% ($226,500 vs. $219,016) while condominiums showed a 24% increase ($175,000 vs. $140,950), reflecting a shift away from the influence of the previous home buyer tax credit in the market. One other point of interest in the condominium market is the reduction in available inventory – 1586 units this year compared to 1907 units in 2009.

Surrounding counties

The surrounding counties of Columbia, Dodge, Green and Sauk Counties are all maintaining sales paces just slightly behind 2009. Rock County is 4% ahead in sales year-to-date. Grant and Iowa Counties are trailing last year by 10-11%. Green, Iowa and Sauk Counties show year-to-date median prices above those of the same period last year.

Buyers stand by during time of attractive economic conditions

As we have reported previously, the home buyer continues to stand by. Many economic indicators point to a gradual improvement. has ranked Madison as the #3 Best City for Families for 2010 – giving it an “A” for overall home values, safety and solids schools. It is difficult to imagine more attractive economic conditions – historically low interest rates, available inventory and stable pricing.

The unsound lending and credit practices have been driven from the marketplace and are unlikely to reappear in the future. Yet even though there may be no better time to buy than now, until the consumer regains confidence, the waiting game is likely to continue.

Homeownership builds wealth, Homeownership makes a home

Homeownership will continue to be an important means of accumulating wealth over the long term – for many, the most important means of securing their future. And it is the place where families are raised and memories created.

Information provided by Paul Brown, Vice President at First Weber Group and SCWMLS

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