EAU CLAIRE — A yearlong streak of home sales managing to grow despite tight inventories has ended as the state saw its numbers stay flat for June.
The 8,655 homes sold last month in Wisconsin was just four fewer than the same year in 2020, according to statistics released on Monday.
“We were expecting June sales to be flat or even down compared to last year because inventories remain so tight, so these sales figures aren’t surprising under the circumstances,” Mary Duff, chairwoman of the Wisconsin Realtors Association, said in a news release.
It was the first month without any growth since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic severely hampered home sales last spring. Between April 2020 and June 2020, the state’s home sales were lower than they were during those months in 2019.
Each month since then had shown some degree of growth, until last month’s home sales were virtually identical to June 2020’s for Wisconsin. And locally the sales figures went down.
The 143 homes sold last month in Eau Claire County was nearly 19% less than 176 recorded a year ago. Chippewa County saw a 21% decline with 84 homes sold last month versus 106 a year prior. Dunn County saw a bigger drop with 47 homes sold — 34% below June 2020’s figure of 71.
A strong start to 2021’s home sales has kept Eau Claire County ahead of the same time last year, but both Chippewa and Dunn counties are behind 2020’s pace.
Listings of homes for sale remain below 2020’s levels locally and throughout the state, while the smaller inventory has pushed prices higher.
“Homes continue to move very quickly, and buyers have been aggressive in their bidding,” Duff said. “It’s common to see multiple offers when a home hits the market with the successful buyer coming in with few if any contingencies and even waiving inspection requirements.”
During June — traditionally one of the busier months of the year for homebuying — the state’s median home went for $257,000. That’s 15.2% higher than a year before when the median price was $223,000.
In the Chippewa Valley, prices went up more drastically than that.
The median price for buying a home in Eau Claire County during June reached $259,900 — 30% more than the $199,500 it would’ve fetched a year ago.
Dunn County’s median home price hit $260,000 last month, up nearly 23% from the $212,000 it was a year before.
In Chippewa County, the median price was $250,250 in June, which is almost 24% higher than the $202,500 from the same month in 2020.
The imbalance between inventory and demand is expected to continue through summer and fall, the Wisconsin Realtors Association predicts. That will continue to result in higher prices.
“We’re in this pattern of very strong demand and very weak supply, and that’s a formula for ongoing affordability issues,” said Michael Theo, president and CEO of the association.
Very low interest rates on borrowing — the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage had just under a 3% interest rate last month — has continued. But it hasn’t mitigated the high increase in home prices. A measure of the state’s housing affordability fell 9.5% in June compared to the same time in 2020, according to the association.