April 11. 2012 10:00AM - Last modified: April 11. 2012 10:36AM

Milwaukee housing market is on the rebound

  
The southeastern Wisconsin housing market continued to steamroll through March, with sales increasing 26.5 percent in the four-county metropolitan area. March marked the ninth consecutive month that sales increased by double-digits.

For the first quarter of 2012, the market was up 22.9 percent compared with the first quarter of 2011.
The higher volumes of buyer traffic that brokers have been reporting since late last year, and the resulting sales, have established a firm pattern of recovery in the metropolitan Milwaukee housing market, according to the Greater Milwaukee Association of Realtors (GMAR).
With employment figures improving in the state, consumer confidence – the missing ingredient in the housing market for several years – is on the rise, according to the GMAR. Despite years of historically abundant inventory, low interest rates and low prices, the market was not able to function because of a lack of consumer confidence. March saw a surprising 1.6-percent decrease in the number of listings. Inventory of move-in ready homes is at a low not seen since 2007, although the number of foreclosures is inflating the overall inventory number.
County-by-county sales analysis includes:
* Milwaukee County was up 17.1 percent in sales over 2011 for March (732 units vs. 625 units), and 16.7 percent for the quarter (1,710 vs. 1,465)
* Waukesha County was up 30.4 percent vs. March 2011 (339 sales compared with 260), and 29.4 percent in the first quarter (775 vs. 599).
* Washington County was up 60.0 percent compared to last year (112 vs. 70), and 31.6 percent for the quarter (246 vs. 187).
* Ozaukee County was also up 72.2 percent vs. March 2011 (93 units vs. 54 units), and 39.7 percent in the first quarter (176 vs. 126)

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