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Wisconsin real estate market strong, favoring sellers

Wisconsin real estate market strong, favoring sellers

FITCHBURG, Wis. - The Wisconsin Realtors Association says sales of existing homes are up nearly three percent statewide from May 2015 numbers.

Dave Stark, a realtor with Stark Company Realtors in Fitchburg, says 2016 has so far shaped up to be a strong year for those selling their homes.

"We've had extremely low inventories coupled with very high demand," Stark said. "The combination of those two things has made for a somewhat unusual, I'd almost say unprecedented situation."

Stark says a low housing inventory throughout Dane County means buyers have less to choose from and most sellers can get a good price.

"It would take between two and two and a half months to sell it all out," Stark said. "Historically, people have often said six months is considered balanced."

But not every seller is having luck. Leigh Ann Leabo is trying to sell her Fitchburg home but said she hasn't had much activity from buyers.

"We're looking for a move closer to my husband's job, looking to move to Colorado," Leabo said. "It's going kind of slow, we've been on the market since last October."

Stark said sellers like Leabo who have had their home on the market for longer than 60 days aren't reaping the same benefits as other sellers.

"You have to price it right, otherwise you could find yourself sitting and if you go beyond 60 days buyers start to assume there's some problem," Stark said. "(They say) it would have sold so they don't look at it as closely as they probably should."

Stark said sometimes, sellers overprice their homes when the market is said to favor them.

"The buyers now have a lot more information than they did 10 or 20 years ago, they know when a house is priced well when they see it," Stark said. "Oftentimes, they pass it over, so now you have to make the adjustments. Maybe you were a little bit too aggressive in the early going."

Stark said increased home construction could balance the Madison-area real estate market toward buyers.

"It's something we need a lot more of," Stark said. "We're hopeful that that will continue to improve as we go along because that's really the only way we're going to provide the inventory we need."

Stark said almost all parts of Dane County currently have a strong real estate market. He said the city of Madison has seen particularly strong home sales, particularly in the near east side and the near west side.

He said buyers in the current market should remain patient and persistent.

"Have a plan, work your plan and if you don't get the first house you go for, don't be discouraged, just keep going, eventually you're going to succeed," Stark said.

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