June, traditionally one of the best months for real estate sales, put a chill on home sales in Kenosha County and throughout the state.
“Normally, a strong economy and low mortgage rates produce solid sales growth, but our persistent lack of homes for sale kept June sales below last year’s levels,” said Wisconsin Realtors Association chairman Jean Stefaniak. “The strong demand for housing was fueled in part by record-setting low unemployment rates of just 2.8 percent for both April and May.”
The current 30-year-fixed mortgage rate is 3.88 percent, according to Mortgage News Daily.
June sales down
Sales for June were down 18.7 percent from June sales a year ago in Kenosha County, according to a monthly report by the WRA with 230 homes sold vs. 283 a year ago.
Year to date, sales are down 2.2 percent compared to 2018, with 1,124 houses sold this year compared with 1,149 for the first six months of last year.
Statewide, sales dropped 9.7 percent in June, with 8,517 being sold. For the first six months of the year, statewide sales have dropped 5.1 percent, with 36,336 houses being sold so far this year.
Meanwhile, a steady decline in housing supply has driven home prices upward.
Last month, the median price in Kenosha County rose 5.6 percent, or $10,500, for the same month a year ago.
For the year, prices are $18,450 higher than for the first six months of last year.
Statewide, the median price was $215,000, up 10.3 percent, or $20,000, than for June a year ago.
For the year, the median price is $195,000, 7.7 percent or $14,000 higher than for the same period a year ago.
“Sales aren’t up, but home prices continue to rise as buyers are in constant bidding wars fighting over properties due to the low inventory,” said Mini Samuel, broker associate/managing broker with Better Homes and Gardens Power Realty.
“Sometimes even bidding $10,000 to $15,000 over on a property isn’t enough to win the bid,” she said. “The less contingencies an offer has, the better chances of that buyer becoming a homeowner, which sadly many first-time homebuyers cannot do.”
Rising prices have curbed affordability slightly, but affordability in Wisconsin is still better than nine other areas, according to WRA president and chief executive officer Michael Theo.
“While affordability continues to slip, Wisconsin’s affordability remains well above the nation and the Midwest region,” he said. “Even though home prices increased by double-digit margins over the last year, mortgage rates dropped below 4 percent, so we only saw a minor drop in affordability. The last time mortgage rates were below 4 percent was June 2017.
“The economic expansion has now moved into its 11th year, which makes this recovery the longest in post-war history. With a good economy, the weak supply has kept sellers in the driver’s seat, so buyers need to work with (an agent) who is experienced and be prepared to move quickly when the right opportunity presents itself.”