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COVID Doesn't Harm Housing Sales As Much As Feared

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Realtors had been expecting a tough sales and price report for June, but were mildly surprised when the COVID-related dropoff wasn't as steep as expected.

The monthly report from the Wisconsin Realtors Association finds sales off just over four percent from a year ago, while median prices rose three percent in the same period statewide.

Association economist Dr. David Clark says June is typically a strong sales month noting most of the sales were likely under contract weeks before. But there was a lower-than-expected downturn....

"Part of the reason for a half-way decent performance in June was the fact that April and May we were in record low territory as it relates to mortgage rates. We were starting to see a little bit of relief from the lockdown..."

Clark says rural areas were impacted less than more urban areas, where urban numbers fell more.

Clark says mortgage rates continue at historic low levels...

"They hit a new record low for the month of June. They dropped to 3.16 percent. That is as low as they've ever been since we've been tracking this data beginning in the 1970's...."

Clark says people are starting to return to work and with lower unemployment, more people might start to look at housing again.

In central Wisconsin, prices rose three percent and sales were nearly unchanged from a year ago. In northern Wisconsin, prices were up seven percent while sales were off two percent from a year ago.

Clark says housing sales and prices often reflect the status of the overall economy.

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