For the fifth month in a row Wisconsin’s housing market is looking sluggish compared to last year.
Numbers from the Wisconsin Realtors Association show statewide sales fell almost seven percent in May, compared to 2013. In the Northern part of the state sales dropped by less than four percent, though the region has seen slower sales for 2014 as a whole.
Marquette University Economist David Clark says the May numbers reveal that the weather hasn’t been the only factor dampening home sales this year.
“We were expecting a little bit of a bounce in May, if weather was the primary factor going on. Because if people were simply delaying their home searches, you would expect a bounce in May, and we didn’t get that.”
Clark says some provisions of federal mortgage reforms passed in 2010 took effect earlier this year…and may be causing some banks to take a cautious approach in granting loans.
“There’s an awful lot of uncertainty on the part of banks as to what will be the final regulations. And so if they’re taking a conservative approach, they may well decide that they’re not going to issue mortgages for slightly more marginal credit scores.”
Clark also points out that 2013 was a very strong year for home sales, so a drop from last year doesn’t mean things are going badly.
Median prices continue to rise in Wisconsin. In the Northern region, prices in May were up more than 20 percent compared to that month last year.
Statewide prices rose almost 4 percent in May.