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First-quarter home sales in state largest since 2007

The Wisconsin housing market appears to have hit another milestone in its climb out of the Great Recession, according an analysis from the Wisconsin Realtors Association.

In a news release issued Monday, WRA officials reported that more homes were sold in the first quarter of 2016 than any other first quarter since 2007, the year that typically marks the start of the largest global downturn in recent history.

First-quarter sales were up 4.2 percent from what they were in the first quarter of 2015, according to the WRA. Median prices for homes rose 6 percent to $150,000 over that same period.

Additionally, the WRA analysis noted that new construction appears to be on the rise.

The one-year period ending in February saw a little more than 10,000 single-family housing permits pulled. According to the release, that 10,000 number has not been exceeded in a 12-month period since 2009.

These numbers are still well short of the nearly 28,000 annual total for permits pulled in late 2004, Still, Mike Theo, WRA president and chief executive officer, said the trend is certainly a good sign.

“Builders are seeing opportunity in this tight market, and that’s good for everyone,” Theo said in the news release.

Specifically for March, home sales slipped 1.4 percent below what they were in the same month of 2015. Median prices rose by 4 percent over what they had been the previous year, hitting $155,000.

WRA officials said the promising first quarter should mean the market picks up steam heading into the rest of the year.

“We’ve had a very good start to the year regarding sales, which positions the state well for a good spring and summer,” said K.C. Maurer, WRA board chairman, in the release.

In every region of the state, the number of home sales recorded in the first-quarter was above those for the same period of 2015, according to WRA. Additionally, median prices increased in the first quarter of 2016 by 6 percent above what they had been in the first quarter of 2015.

Theo attributed the price increases to low inventory levels combined with strong demand.

About Alex Zank, [email protected]

Alex Zank is a construction reporter for The Daily Reporter. He can be reached at 414-225-1820.

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