People talk about the national housing market like it's some static thing, like a toaster. The thing is, there is no national housing market. Just like there is no national weather forecast. That doesn't mean national averages don't have their place, but you don't grab a raincoat and an umbrella in Miami based on the weather in Seattle. Like the weather, all real estate is local. As we embark on the fourth and final quarter of 2011, let's take a look at our local forecast.
New Listings in the Milwaukee region decreased 9.9 percent to 1,810. Pending Sales were down 7.0 percent to 779. Inventory levels shrank 6.4 percent to 11,118 units, a positive supply-side trend that should bring additional stability.
Prices were still soft. The Median Sales Price decreased 2.9 percent to $168,000. Days on Market increased 3.6 percent to 110 days. Absorption rates slowed as Months Supply of Inventory was up 3.0 percent to 12.0 months.
A dash of uplifting economic news was overshadowed by debt clouds from the ongoing turmoil in Greece and the threat of bank contagion. Manufacturing activity, construction spending and overall job growth all picked up in September, temporarily calming fears of the dreaded double-dip storm. As for the lending climate, the Fed's recent "Operation Twist" helped push mortgage rates to record lows – under 4.0 percent for the first time ever. Despite the cheap money, "Jobs, Jobs, Jobs!" should still be the battle cry.
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