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2013 June Home Sales Report

Home Sales and Prices Rise in First Half of 2013

Date: July 22, 2013

MADISON, Wis. – Wisconsin home sales rose an impressive 11.4 percent in the first six months of 2013 compared to last year, according to recent statistics compiled by the Wisconsin REALTORS® Association (WRA). In June alone, Wisconsin home sales were up 3.1 percent relative to last June, posting the 24th straight month of positive sales growth in the state. Median prices also continued to increase year-to-date, rising 7.7 percent to $140,000 compared to the first half of 2012. In June, prices were up 12.3 percent to $159,500 compared to June 2012.

“The pace of sales in the first half of this year is well ahead of last year,” said Renny Diedrich, WRA board chairman, “which is especially noteworthy since 2012 was an exceptional post-recession year for housing sales.”

According to WRA numbers, sales for the most recent six-month period are up 33.1 percent over the first half of 2011 — an increase of more than 8,700 additional home sales. Moreover, construction of new homes is showing signs of solid improvement as well. “The rebound in building is a very positive sign for our markets in Wisconsin,” said Diedrich. She noted that new single-family housing starts have increased 12.3 percent between January and May in 2013 compared to that same period last year and are up 27.7 percent compared to the first five months of 2011.

Adding to the good news was a significant drop in foreclosures during the first half of 2013. Unique foreclosures in the state are down 37.2 in the first half of 2013 compared to that same period in 2012, and down 44.5 in the second quarter this year compared to quarter two of 2012. “All in all, this paints a very healthy picture of the Wisconsin residential home market at the midyear point,” Diedrich said.

All regions of the state saw healthy growth in home sales through the first six months of 2013 over last year. The regions with the strongest growth were the South Central, up 15.7 percent; the West, up 13.4 percent; and the Southeast, up 12 percent. Growth in the other three regions was also solid, ranging between 9.9 percent for the Central region and 7.3 percent for the Northeast region, to 6.9 percent in the North.

Wisconsin median prices increased 12.3 percent in June 2013 compared to June 2012, and were up 7.7 percent for the first six months of the year. “We’ve seen very strong growth in housing prices since they started improving 16 months ago,” said WRA President and CEO Michael Theo. And while higher prices impact housing affordability, homes in Wisconsin remain a good value. The Wisconsin Housing Affordability Index (HAI) shows the percent of the median-priced home that a buyer earning the estimated median family income can afford to buy, assuming current mortgage rates and a 20 percent down payment. In June, the index was at 214, indicating that a household with median family income of $63,100 can afford to buy 214 percent of the median priced home of $159,500. This is down from 239 in May and significantly below its peak of 292 in January of this year. “With personal incomes and mortgage rates virtually unchanged from last year, the dip in affordability can be attributed to raising prices,” Theo said, but added Wisconsin housing remains very affordable when compared nationally. He noted that the National Association of REALTORS® predicts its HAI will fall to 156 in the second quarter of 2013 compared to its level of 203 in the first quarter.

Although state and national job growth has been relatively slow the last couple of years, there have been some recent improvements for the state of Wisconsin. According to preliminary estimates released by the Wisconsin Department of Workplace Development and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Wisconsin improved to 6.8 percent in June from 7.0 in May, and the state has added nearly 27,000 nonfarm jobs since January (also based on seasonally adjusted data). “These preliminary jobs figures are promising, and if the trends continue, they bode well for a strong second half of the year,” said Theo. “With mortgage rates in the 4-percent range and home prices still relatively low, this is an excellent time to work with a REALTOR® to identify the best values in your neighborhood,” he said.

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