2007 Fourth Quarter and Year-End Home Sales Report

Wisconsin Home Sales Dip in 2007 but Prices Stable

Date: February 14, 2008

MADISON, WI – Wisconsin housing sales decreased but prices increased in 2007, leaving Wisconsin’s real estate market in much better shape than many parts of the Midwest and the nation, according to the year-end analysis of existing home sales conducted by the Wisconsin REALTORS® Association (WRA).

Wisconsin home sales declined in 2007 by 10.8 percent relative to 2006, but median prices actually rose 0.2 percent over the period to $164,000, according to the REALTORS®’ report. Sales in the Midwest were also down by a similar margin, falling 10.5 percent over last year, but sales nationally were down nearly 13 percent.

“It’s a mistake to look at Wisconsin’s housing market through the lens of national indicators,” said WRA President William Malkasian. “Housing in our state and throughout much of the Midwest is much less volatile than many markets in other parts of the country, especially the Western United States,” said Malkasian. “While 2007 was a rough year for housing sales compared to our recent boom years, Wisconsin’s housing future looks like it will be brighter, faster.”

Malkasian pointed to recent action by the Federal Reserve to substantially cut short term interest rates as another positive sign for the housing market. “Thirty-year fixed mortgage rates averaged 6.3 percent for 2007, but fell to 5.8 percent in January, and this was before the Fed’s latest interest rate cuts,” said Malkasian. “These steps by the Fed will help to keep housing affordable for credit worthy buyers, and offer excellent buying opportunities in this market,” he said.

While sales fell in 2007, median prices in the state actually rose slightly, showing the underlying strength of Wisconsin’s housing market, according to the WRA report. “The stability of prices in this soft market is a good sign for buyers,” said WRA Chairman Michael Spranger. “The fact that we are not seeing the significant changes in the median prices that have been recorded in other parts of the country is an indication that housing remains a good way to accumulate and maintain household wealth for Wisconsin residents,” said Spranger.

According to Spranger, recent REALTOR® polling supports his optimism for Wisconsin’s housing market in 2008. “Wisconsin citizens love their homes, their neighborhoods and their state,” said Spranger, “and we asked their opinions in the middle of January!” According to the REALTORS®’ January survey, 83 percent of Wisconsin citizens ranked their quality of life as good, 80 percent gave their neighborhoods the same ranking and 74 percent said the same about their homes.


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