2010 Wisconsin real estate sales were 7.5% behind 2009, yet prices were just off 1.1%, according to the Wisconsin REALTORS Association. More than 56% of those sales occurred in the first six months of the year as a result of buyers rushing to purchase and close before the First Time Home Buyer Tax credit deadline. This created an unusual sales pattern in the first six months of the year and a slower second half, with the exception of December 2010 which posted a 2.2% gain in sales statewide versus the previous year.
All regions in Wisconsin saw slight drops in sales numbers and sales price except Wisconsin’s Northwoods. Northwoods Wisconsin real estate sales increased 4.6% and prices increased 3.9% in 2010 versus 2009.
What does 2011 hold for Wisconsin real estate? No one can be certain, although we are cautiously optimistic.
Here are a few things to note:
– Mortgage rates in Wisconsin are expected to slowly rise.
– The shadow inventory of foreclosures held by banks could adversely affect pricing if too many are released too quickly.
– Wisconsin’s home for sale inventory has dropped for the second straight month. If it continues, supply and demand could start evening out.
– Wisconsin added 41,000+ jobs in 2010, and our unemployment rate is 1% less than last year. Jobs are needed to boost the housing industry in Wisconsin so this is a great step in the right direction.
– Wisconsin homes remain affordable. WRA President Bill Malkasian notes that the Wisconsin Housing Affordability Index, which shows what percentage of a median priced home a buyer with the median family income could afford, was at 230 – up 16 points from last December.
“A growing economy, favorable interest rates and healthy inventories form a good foundation for continued housing improvement for 2011 and beyond,” said Malkasian.