February home sales up across Wisconsin
February home sales and prices are up by double digits in La Crosse County compared to February 2018, and February sales set a record statewide, according to the report released by the Wisconsin Realtors Association.
La Crosse County home sales were up 13.5% and prices were up 17.4% compared to February last year. Wisconsin as a whole saw home sales rise 1.2% relative to the same month in 2018 and median prices rose 6.1%.
"Interest rates remain really low. There's lots of buyers in the market despite the winter weather that we've had, our sales are still up quite a bit over the previous year," Steve Lillistrand, La Crosse Area Realtors Association president, said.
Weather usually puts a damper on home sales, but even the increase in severe weather didn't stop homebuyers from getting out there.
"Real estate market is healthy. We need more inventory. The economy is healthy. Unemployment is super low. There's a lot of good news," Lillestrand said. "We could sell more homes if we had more homes to sell."
Existing home sales surpassed the previous sales record set last February, according to WRA chairman Jean Stefaniak.
"We had an excellent winter last year, so being close to that mark is a promising signal as we move into the spring and summer home markets," Stefaniak said.
The state typically sells just 5.1% of its annual volume in February, compared to more than double that percent in the peak selling months of May through August.
"The overall economy remains strong with low unemployment, solid job growth and favorable mortgage rates, which bolster demand," said WRA president and CEO Michael Theo.
The limited supply and high demand continue to push prices up each month.
The median price of a La Crosse County home in February was $193,500, compared to $164,850 last year.
Most of La Crosse's neighboring counties saw slight dips in prices in February while sales numbers remained on the uptick for the month.
Monroe County had a 30% increase in sales and 2% decrease in median price, Chippewa had a 6.1% increase in sales and 11.8% decrease in median price and Trempealeau had a 40% increase in sales and 22% decrease in price.
Vernon County had a 16.7% decrease in sales and a 14.4% decrease in median price this February compared to last. La Crosse County home sales were up 13.5% and prices were up 17.4% compared to February last year.