Existing home sales in Wisconsin saw positive gains for the first time this year, and median home prices were up slightly according to the most recent housing market report released by the Wisconsin REALTORS® Association (WRA). June home sales rose 4.5 percent compared to June 2013, and median prices were stable, rising 0.6 percent to $159,900 over the same period.Seems like maybe we're bouncing back. Except that we were in such a hole from the first 5 months of the year that we're still well behind where we should be. I'm also going to leave out the absurd pro- Scott Walker happy talk from the Realtors, as we know the state's economy is badly lagging and just ended its worst 6 months of job growth in the 3 1/2 years Walker has been governor.
“This is a welcome sign since June is our most important month for sales,” said Steve Lane, chairman of the WRA board of directors. “In a typical year, Wisconsin sells approximately 11.5 percent of its homes in June, which is more than any other month of the year, so strong sales in June is important,” said Lane.
However, given the harsh winter, Lane cautioned that even a solid showing in June won’t completely erase the weaker winter and spring sales. He noted that during the first half of the year, sales were down 4.9 percent compared to the first six months of 2013. All regions saw positive gains in sales in June with the double-digit growth in the West and the Central regions, up 15.6 percent and 10.1 percent respectively. Home sales in June were up between 3 and 6 percent in three regions — the South central, North and Northeast regions; and sales in the Southeast region were up slightly at 0.2 percent....So the price increases are slowing down as well as sales being slow. And there are few places that have done worse in Wisconsin than the 3 counties around Milwaukee that greatly support Scott Walker. Take a look at how badly the WOW Counties have fared so far in 2014.
Median prices stabilized in June, with prices up just 0.6 percent to $159,900 for the month compared to the same month last year. Year-to-date, the median price has increased 3.6 percent to $145,000 compared to the median price seen for the first six months of 2013. “Fortunately our price increases have moderated compared to late last year and early in 2014,” said WRA President and CEO Michael Theo. The annual pace of median price growth was 5.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013, followed by 4.4 percent in the first quarter of 2014, and a more sustainable 1.7 percent increase in the second quarter of 2014 relative to that same quarter in 2013.
Change in home sales Jan-June 2013 vs Jan-June 2014
Ozaukee Co. -6.2%
Washington Co. -12.0%
Waukesha Co. -9.2%
Change in median home sales price Jan-June 2013 vs Jan-June 2014
Ozaukee Co. +0.8%
Washington Co. -4.1%
Waukesha Co. +1.7%
Both of these stats are well below the statewide figures of sales being down 4.9% and prices up 3.6%. And these areas kept sliding in June while the state as a whole was up.
Change in home sales June 2013 vs June 2014
Ozaukee Co. -8.3%
Washington Co. -10.3%
Waukesha Co -2.3%
Yes, the sample size is still somewhat small, but you gotta start wondering if people are simply not choosing to live in areas that stood with Walker at rates between 71 and 76 percent in the June 2012 recall election. By comparison, Milwaukee County was up 0.9% for sales in June, their 5.8% decline in sales for the year is less than any of WOW Counties, and median sales prices in Milwaukee County are up 9.0% for the first 5 months of 2014 (granted, at a lower price point). Maybe new Milwaukee-area home buyers are choosing not to live in areas that choose to live in fear and don't believe in transit and walkable communities. That sure seemed to be a theory from officials in Oklahoma City, Cleveland and Denver in a recent MMAC discussion - a belief that must have alarmed the MMAC's pro-Walker oligarchs, knowing how much their guy disinvested in transit in Brew Town.
I happened to head into Milwaukee this weekend for a family event, and was detoured off of I-94 due to the Zoo Interchange Closure. So we traveled through Brookfield and Pewaukee as part of our detours, and especially along Bluemound Road it was startling to see the amount of vacant store and office space. It's an extremely rare site to see "For Lease" signs every 2 or 3 buildings in Madison like I saw in the 262, and you couldn't ignore the outdated strip malls that seem to have moved downscale from the times 30 years ago when Brookfield and Elm Grove were the suburbs that young families wanted to locate in.
So with the idyllic image of sprawling, safe suburbs collapsing around them, and it bein obvious those places aren't getting ahead in the Age of Fitzwalkerstan, it makes you wonder if at least 35% of the voters in those areas won't want to make a change in leadership this November. And if that happens, there is very little chance Walker can win.