Wisconsin’s residential real estate market began the year on an up note, according to numbers released by the state’s Realtors organization. But the state’s unemployment rate continues to play a role in home sales. “That unemployment rate, even though it’s below the national average, has still got to come down, and when it does, that will revive the industry even more,” said Wisconsin Realtor Association President Bill Malkasian. The year began as 2009 ended, with strong sales and stable prices. “Not a surprising set of numbers, considering the circumstances of low interest rates and the first time home buyers tax credit, but all in all good numbers, and the third quarter in a row where the numbers are going in the right direction,” said Malkasian.
Sales of existing homes rose by 16.8 percent in the first three months of 2010 compared to the same quarter of last year. Malkasian says the residential real estate industry itself is in fundamentally good shape – even as the overall economy continues to underperform. “The reality of it is that, where we have the unemployment rate that we do today, that’s a nagging indicator that we have a ways to go.” Malkasian says home prices in Wisconsin remain stable, there’s good inventory and low interests rates. In short, it’s a buyers market for those who are employed. “I think as the government takes off some of its stimulus and sort of puts us off of life support and moves us more into a sort of natural marketplace, the third and fourth quarters will be a very good indicators of exactly where our market is.”
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