Home sales down, but one realtor is optimistic for spring

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- January home sales have fallen nearly seven percent in the state of Wisconsin -- as compared with the same month last year. However, one Milwaukee-area realtor says he sees several positives for the housing market, and predicts good news this spring.

Though home sales statewide dropped nearly seven percent as compared with 2013, Milwaukee County saw a smaller dip -- just under six percent, according to the Wisconsin Realtors Association.

"January is typically a little slow, but hasn't been bad considering the winter we have," Bob Larson with the Greater Milwaukee Association of Realtors said.

Battling the snow and sub-zero temperatures we've seen this winter may have convinced some buyers to stay inside, rather than tour homes and think about moving, but Larson says the sales drop isn't for lack of interest.

"The buyers are out more in droves. It's the sellers that are a little bit reluctant right now," Larson said.

That means the selection is smaller than you might typically see.

"The inventory's very low. Buyers don't have a lot of options out there, so it's actually an excellent time to put your house on the market because there's not a lot of other options for those buyers," Larson said.

Larson says he thinks some sellers may be assuming buyers aren't out, which is why, as temperatures heat up, Larson says the housing market will do the same.

"I'm expecting to see the best market we've had since the whole crash. The sellers are going to see -- this is the time, this is the activity and this is their best opportunity," Larson said.

January did provide some positive news: Median sale prices rose a little over three percent compared to the same time frame last year. In Milwaukee County, that is more than 15%.

Larson says the last few years have shown the market continuing to improve.

"'13 was better than '12. '12 was better than '11. It's really exciting to see the market pick up the way it has," Larson said.

Larson says buyers are being driven by the financial appeal of buying a home right now. He says it's a good time to get out and look, because of where interest rates are these days.

CLICK HERE for additional information or for assistance in locating a realtor via the Wisconsin Realtors Association's website.