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Report: Wisconsin housing market has record 2016

Wisconsin’s housing market had a banner year in 2016, with annual sales reaching an all-time high and home prices rising well above the pace of inflation on the year, according to the Wisconsin Realtors Association.

Home sales increased 6.1 percent for the year compared to 2015, making it the strongest year for sales since the association re-calibrated its tracking system in 2005, according to a news release. Specifically for December, home sales rose 4.1 percent compared to the same month in the previous year. Median prices also rose 7.4 percent to $161,000.

“This has been a truly remarkable year for housing in the state with sales exceeding 81,000 units for the first time on record,” Erik Sjowall, WRA board chairman, said in the release. The previous peak that the association recorded with its new tracking system came last year, when a little more than 76,000 homes were sold.

Every region of the state saw solid sales growth. The areas with some of the strongest growth include the North region, with sales up 7.8 percent; the Southeast region, up 7.2 percent; and the Northeast region, up 6.8 percent.

Inventories of available houses were tight all year, and December was no exception. The fact that just under five months’ worth of inventory was available for the month made the record sales “all the more impressive,” Sjowall said.

Yet, the short supply of available houses only told part of the story about why prices rose faster than the rate of inflation. Michael Theo, president and chief executive of WRA, said other factors include a solid economy, favorable mortgage rates and a very low rate of foreclosures across the state. Although mortgage rates began to move up in December — thanks to the Federal Reserve’s decision to increase short-term rates — they remained historically low, according to the release.

About Alex Zank, alex.zank@dailyreporter.com

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

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