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Home sale prices surge in Columbia, Sauk counties

August 21, 2018

Home prices surged last month in Columbia and Sauk counties, but they plummeted in Dodge County, where the number of sales dropped 42 percent from the previous July.

According to the Wisconsin Realtors Association’s monthly report, the number of sales reported in Columbia and Sauk counties in July rose about 1 percent from July 2017. But Dodge County saw its sales total sink from 148 to 86. Statewide, home sales slipped 3 percent last month relative to July 2017.

Supply remains tight, restricting activity and driving up prices. The statewide median sales price rose to nearly $193,000 last month, a 7.5 percent increase from July 2017.

Columbia and Sauk counties saw their median sales price jump 14 and 19 percent, respectively, to $225,000 and $207,500. But in Dodge County, prices dipped 3 percent to $141,000.

Year-to-date, home sales for 2018 lag about 3 percent behind last year’s totals, and median prices are 7.5 percent higher. An increase in July home listings improved statewide inventory levels to 3.4 percent above July 2017. Total listings, which include those that have been on the market for more than a month, rose 21 percent to nearly 33,000 units in July.

“It’s good to see more homes being listed on the market, but demand remains very strong, so homes don’t stay on the market for very long,” said WRA Chairman Peter Sveum.

In the state’s south-central region, homes are staying on the market less than three months on average. Housing demand depends on labor market opportunities, and Sveum pointed to low unemployment rates as evidence of a strong economy that’s generating intense demand for housing. The state unemployment rate held at 2.9 percent for the second straight month. “Strong demand and limited supply lead to quicker sales,” Sveum said.

Comparing the first seven months of 2017 to this year, median prices have appreciated 5.4 to 10.2 percent across the six regions of Wisconsin. “Affordability definitely slipped, but income growth has offset price increases to a degree,” said WRA President Michael Theo. “While median prices rose 7.5 percent over the last 12 months, median family income is estimated to have risen 7.2 percent over that same period.”

Mortgage rates are up by about a half-percent over that same 12-month period but remained favorable at 4.53 percent in July. “The improvement in listings over the last couple of months is a welcome improvement and should help to move us toward a more balanced market, but we’re still in a strong seller’s market,” Theo said.

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