Wisconsin real estate market update from First Weber Group, May 2011

Not surprisingly, May 2011 Wisconsin real estate sales did not compare to May 2010 sales. It will be several months before this normally useful measure of the health of the Wisconsin real estate market will apply again due to inflated and front-loaded sales because of last year’s home buyer tax credits.

Homes that are priced right are selling. It is critical to come to the market with a price that compels buyers to buy if you want a fast sale.  The highest level of activity for new listings is the first few weeks and your potential buyer has plenty of homes to choose from. If you need to sell, you need to price agressively.

Another hurdle in Wisconsin home sales is the mortgage process. Bob Larson, General Sales Manager of First Weber’s Waukesha office said in a jsonline article: "We have buyers willing to buy and sellers willing to sell, we get offers put together, but getting it to a closing and getting it through the lending end of it and the underwriting end of it is the biggest struggle." Larson also said "And in this economy, so many buyers have little dings in their credit, it just knocks them out of the ballpark. Deals fall apart because we can’t get it through the underwriting process."

This blog is meant to inform Wisconsin buyers and sellers of the Wisconsin real estate market – even if the news is not glowing.  It is what it is and we are here to help you understand what’s happening.

Here’s a brief look at year to date Wisconsin real estate sales by region and county (numbers from Wisconsin Realtors Association)

Region Median Price YTD 2011 Median Price 2010 % Change Sales YTD 2011 Sales YTD 2010 % Change
Southeast WI/Metro Milwaukee $135,000 $154,000 -12.3% 6654 7930 -16.1%
South Central WI $152,000 $159,900 -4.9% 3753 4588 -18.2%
Northeast WI $124,000 $130,000 -23.4% 1936 2621 -26.1%
Central WI $101,000 $108,000 -6.5% 1098 1414 -22.3%
North/Northwoods WI $105,000 $107,000 -1.9% 1702 1833 -7.1%

Southeast Wisconsin data covers real estate sales in: Kenosha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Sheboygan, Walworth, Washington and Waukesha counties.

South Central Wisconsin  data covers real estate sales in: Columbia, Crawford, Dane, Dodge, Grant, Green, Iowa, Jefferson, Richland, Rock and Sauk counties.

Northeast Wisconsin  data covers real estate sales in: Brown, Calumet, Door, Fond du Lac, Green Lake, Kewaukee, Manitowoc, Marinette, Menominee, Oconto, Shawano, Waupaca and Winnebago counties.

Central Wisconsin data covers real estate sales in: Adams, Clark, Juneau, Marathon, Marquette, Portage, Waushara and Wood counties.

North/ Northwoods Wisconsin  data covers real estate sales in: Ashland, Barron, Bayfield, Burnett, Douglas, Forest, Iron, Langlade, Lincoln, Oneida, Polk, Price, Rusk, Sawyer, Taylor, Vilas and Washburn counties.

It remains a difficult time for Wisconsin real estate sellers who need to compete with the many other properties for sale in this buyer’s market.  The price and condition of your property are under your control and you should be talking with your real estate agent about how to position yourself in the market to sell and move on with your life.  If moving on to a different house, consider the high affordability and low mortgage rates as a silver lining for buying low after possibly having to sell low.

For buyers: “We have a regular real estate miracle happening right now. We not only have record low prices, but we also have cheap money”, real estate expert Barbara Corcoran said in this brief article from the KCM Crew. The Wisconsin Realtors Housing Affordability index is now at 221, up from 203 a year ago, yet the affordability index has also dropped in the last few months. If you can swing buying a home now, seriously consider it. 

For sellers, talk to your agent about absorption rates in your area of Wisconsin to see what price point might be worth looking at.

Thank you for reading the First Weber Wisconsin real estate & Wisconsin living blog for information on the housing market in Wisconsin.  Search for Wisconsin real estate for sale at FirstWeber.com

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