2012 April Home Sales Report

Both Home Sales and Prices Rise in April

Date: May 21, 2012

MADISON, WI – The strong pace of existing home sales continued, with 10 straight months of double-digit sales growth. Home sales rose 19.5 percent in April 2012 compared to April 2011, according to the most recent monthly report by the Wisconsin REALTORS® Association (WRA). Home prices were also up for the second straight month, rising 2.4 percent to $128,000 in April compared to April 2011.

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 “After several years of a stagnate housing market, it’s encouraging to see sustained growth in home sales, especially as we enter the summer, which is the prime season for home sales in the state,” said Rob Keefe, Chairman of the WRA board of directors. He pointed out that all regions of the state saw their home sales rise by sizeable margins in April. Specifically, existing home sales rose 30.3 percent in the Southeast region of the state, followed by the Central, North and West regions, which saw home sales grow in the range of 16.7 percent to 17.6 percent compared to April 2011. The Northeast region was up 14.4 percent over that period, and the South Central region grew at 9.6 percent in April. In a typical year, just over half of all homes in the state sell between April and August. “We’ve been hearing from REALTORS® throughout the state that homes have been moving at a brisk pace, which bodes well for a strong summer of home sales,” said Keefe.

“With 10 straight months of double-digit growth in Wisconsin home sales, I think it’s safe to say we’ve turned the corner on sales, and we’ve seen some preliminary signals that prices have begun to move upward,” said WRA President and CEO Michael Theo. The statewide median price increased 2.4 percent in April 2012 compared to April 2011. Regionally, about half of the regions in the state — the Northeast, North and South Central — saw median prices rise, whereas the others — the Central, Southeast and West — were still down compared to last year. “While we hope that prices have bottomed out, we can’t draw that conclusion from just two months of data,” said Theo. However, he noted that REALTORS® are becoming more bullish on prices, pointing to a recent REALTOR® Confidence survey conducted by the National Association of REALTORS®. The April survey of 4,490 REALTORS® nationwide indicated that 78 percent of those surveyed believed that residential home prices will either remain constant or will increase over the next 12 months, up from 73 percent in the March survey. “If recent sales trends continue, it would not be surprising to see Wisconsin home prices appreciate in the next year,” said Theo.

Still, housing remains very affordable in the state, with high inventories and very modest prices. The Wisconsin Housing Affordability Index, which measures the percentage of a median-priced home that a buyer with the median family income can afford, stood at 245 in April. This is down from a revised 261 in March. “With mortgage rates under 4 percent on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, those with good credit and a solid down payment can get a lot of home for their money,” said Theo. If prices do continue to rise, now is an ideal time to engage a local REALTOR® to find the best values in this market.

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