April 2021 Home Sales Report

Home Sales and Prices Up Significantly Compared to COVID Lockdown Levels

Date: May 17, 2021

April 2021 at a glance

  • April home sales and median prices were up significantly compared to the depressed levels a year earlier when the economic lockdown was in full force.
  • Although new listings were up compared to April 2020, total listings fell 29.5%.
  • Months of supply fell to just 2.5 months statewide, dropping by more than 20% in every region in the state. All regions are in a very strong seller’s market.
  • Thirty-year fixed-rate mortgage rates remained low at 3.06% in April, which has kept Wisconsin housing affordable even as median prices rose 9.9% over the past year.
  • Homes are moving quickly, as average days on the market dropped 14.1% to just 85 days in April, down from 99 days a year earlier.
  • The national economy has now been expanding for three straight quarters, which began in summer 2020, but inflationary pressures are building.

Analysis from the experts

Sales and inventory

"All regions grew by solid margins in April, and the less-urbanized North and Central regions are up two to three times that of other regions. This bounce in closed sales for April was expected since we are comparing to a depressed level of sales last April when the economy was in full lockdown as a result of the pandemic. Still, the increase in sales was particularly impressive given the very tight inventory situation in the state."

Mary Duff, 2021 Chair, WRA

Economic trends

"Even though the end of the recession hasn’t been officially announced, the national economy has been growing since the third quarter of last year, and the initial estimates of first quarter real GDP growth came in at 6.4%. The good news is that the state unemployment rate has dropped more than 10 percentage points since peaking at 14.8% in April last year, and it stood at 3.8% in March this year. The concern is that the strong economic growth is starting to generate significant inflationary pressures. On an annualized basis, headline inflation increased from 1.4% in January to 4.2% in April.”

Dave Clark, Marquette University Economist and WRA Consultant

Home prices and affordability

"Home prices have been rising quickly because of strong demand and weak supply in the market. Specifically, median home prices have increased at an annual pace of 9.7% or higher since July 2020. It is low mortgage rates that have kept our housing affordable. Mortgage rates have moved above the record-low rates set at the end of 2020, but they are still only slightly above 3%, which is very low by historical standards. If we do start seeing more pronounced increases in mortgage rates, this will really start to erode affordability." 

Michael Theo, President & CEO, WRA


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