Metro Milwaukee housing market posts best sales since 2005

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Sales of existing homes rose slightly in December, helping the metro Milwaukee housing market to its best performance in 12 years.

A report Monday by the Greater Milwaukee Association of Realtors showed 1,392 closings took place last month in the four-county metro area, compared with 1,371 in December 2016.

For the full year, sales of existing homes totaled 21,357 in Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Washington and Waukesha counties, a gain of 1.7% over the 2016 total of 21,007.

The 2017 sales marked the most in a year since 21,642 sales were recorded during the housing boom year of 2005.

At the same time, the average price for homes purchased in 2017 rose in all four counties.

The average price paid for a home in Milwaukee County last year was $176,012, up 4.6% from $168,319 in 2016. In Ozaukee County, the average price was $331,171, a 6.8% increase from $310,036 in 2016. The average in Washington county climbed 3.6%, to $236,807 from $228,661, and in Waukesha County, the average increased 5.8%, to $321,225 from $303,503.

The average price in all but Milwaukee County now is above the average from before the Great Recession, when prices took a nosedive. Milwaukee County still is 8.7% behind its pre-downturn peak average price of $192,844 in 2007.

"Milwaukee County's gap is due to the volume and diversity of housing units in the City of Milwaukee, and hard-hit neighborhoods on the north side of the city where values plummeted," Mike Ruzicka, president of the Greater Milwaukee Association of Realtors, said in his monthly report.

Although the supply of homes on the market remained tight in 2017, it was better than in 2016. There were 27,491 properties listed for sale last year, or 342 more than in 2016.

The limited number of properties for sale has helped push up prices.

Tribune Content Agency
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