North Still Has Relative Home Bargains; Urban Areas Not So Much
Sales of existing homes in Wisconsin this February were up even though prices have gone up and the weather was lousy.
Wisconsin Realtors Association numbers show statewide, home sales were up more than 1 percent compared to a year ago but prices have jumped 6 percent to a median of $175,000.
In the 18-county north region, prices were up two percent to a median of $135,000 but sales were off 3 percent.
Economist Dr. David Clark works with the state realtors association. He says in urban areas of Wisconsin, it's getting more difficult to find a home you like at a price you can afford.
But the rural parts of the state have more inventory....
"...Those counties that make up metropolitan areas make up about 2.9 months of supply. The smaller towns and cities have about 4.1 months of supply. Those really small areas in terms of population, the rural counties, have about 6 months of supplies..."
He says with a 6 month supply, it's close to what Clark describes as a 'balanced' market, where buyers and sellers are about the same number. He says there's a key reason for the difference...
"...Most of the employment is taking place in the cities. The typical buyer in the more rural settings tends to be those buying second homes and those buying retirement types of properties. A good supply for those people in those parts of the state, but if you look at the state in general, it's a much tighter supply picture...."
The state Affordability Index puts together all the factors involved in buying a home and measures it. Assuming a 30-year fixed rate loan with 20 percent down payment, the index was down from February one year ago.