February 2024 Home Sales Report

Growth in Statewide Inventories Pushed Sales Up in February

Date: March 21, 2024

February 2024 at a glance

  • February new home listings rose by 20.9%, and total listings increased 7.5% relative to their levels in February 2023. This additional inventory resulted in a 3.1% increase in February home sales compared to 12 months earlier, and year-to-date sales are up 6% over the first two months of 2023.
  • The statewide median price in February increased 5.7% to $275,000 over the last 12 months. A similar picture emerges year to date, where the median price rose 5.9% to $270,000, compared to that same period in 2023.
  • The home market remains a seller’s market with just 2.7 months of available supply in February. Although it is below the six-month benchmark that characterizes a balanced home market, it has improved from the 2.1 months of available supply in February 2023.
  • Inventories remain tight, especially for homes listed at lower price ranges. Homes listed under $125,000 had 2.4 months of supply in February, and there were approximately two months of supply for those listings between $125,000 and just under $350,000. Higher-priced listings had more available supply. Specifically, homes priced between $350,000 and just under $500,000 had 3.1 months of supply, and those at or above $500,000 had 4.8 months of supply.
  • The 30-year fixed mortgage rate rose about one half percent over the past 12 months to an average of 6.78% in February. While below the peak rate of 7.79% seen in October 2023, it drifted upward throughout January and February 2024, hurting affordability.
  • Higher prices and higher mortgage rates caused the Wisconsin Housing Affordability Index to fall 7.4% between February 2023 and February 2024.

Analysis from the experts

Listings continue to improve  

"We continue to see growth in our new listings, and February was particularly strong, rising over 20% compared to this time last year. This bodes well for ongoing improvement in our inventory situation as we move into the peak sales period of late spring and summer."

Mary Jo Bowe, 2024 Chair of the Board of Directors, Wisconsin REALTORS® Association  

Affordability challenges

"It’s great to see the recent upward spike in new listings, and this has no doubt helped to moderate our home price increases. The real problem for first-time buyers is that mortgage rates have been slow to come down after peaking at nearly 8% last fall. Hopefully we’ll see some improvement in rates, which will help millennials still looking to buy homes."

Tom Larson, President & CEO, Wisconsin REALTORS® Association

Recent progress on core inflation slows 

"The Fed has made significant progress on inflation over the past year but most of the improvement was seen in the spring and summer of 2023.  The Fed’s preferred measure is core inflation because it factors out both food and energy prices which tend to be quite volatile from month to month.  The good news is that core inflation fell from 5.5% in February 2023 to 4.1% in September of last year. However, since that time improvements have really slowed with the annualized rate of core inflation standing at 3.8% in February. This is well above the Fed’s target rate of 2% for inflation. We’ll need to see more progress before the Fed is comfortable lowering rates to further stimulate the economy."

Dave Clark, Professor Emeritus of Economics and WRA Consultant


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