Newly released Q1'09 data by state and national Realtors organizations show that sales of existing homes declined 22.6% in Wisconsin compared with the same period a year earlier. At the same time, though, prices of homes sold in Wisconsin were more stable than in many other parts of the country. The median home price fell 9.5% in Wisconsin as opposed to 13.8% nationwide.
Wisconsin's less-volatile home prices stem from the fact that the state never became a boom-or-bust real estate market. David Clark, a Marquette University economics professor who analyzed the data for the WRA (Wisconsin Realtors Association), says, "That certainly is one of the benefits of being in a state where the housing market goes up at a steady pace, but not a more explosive pace like we saw in places like California, Nevada, Arizona and Florida, where the demand was so high and the in-migration patterns were so strong that it really fueled these unsustainable housing prices." In fact, the median price in some of Wisconsin's biggest metropolitan areas fared even more favorably. Green Bay, for instance, was one of only 18 of 152 metro areas chronicled nationwide where the median home price actually increased in the first three months of this year. Meanwhile, the median price for the Milwaukee metro area fell only 1.4% to $201,500. WRA President William Malkasian remarked, "If you don't go up really high, you don't go down real low, and that's Wisconsin." He notes that the median home price in the state -- $137,500 -- was "somewhat skewed" because it reflected many homes sold at lower prices to first-time buyers.
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Jolenta Averill, Principal
Lake & City Homes Realty