November 2021 at a glance

  • Wisconsin’s November existing home sales kept pace with the strong sales of a year earlier, falling just 0.8% over the 12-month period. The median price rose 7.6% to $240,000 over that same period.
  • Through the first 11 months of 2021, home sales are slightly ahead, up 0.3% of the January-November period last year, and median prices were up 9.5% to $241,000 over that same time.
  • As we approach year-end, sales performance varied regionally on a year-to-date basis.  The strongest sales were seen in the Southeast region, which is running 3.7% higher than last year. Also up was the Central region, up 1.1%, as well as the South Central region, up 0.7%. In contrast, the Northeast region fell 1.4% for the first 11 months of the year compared to that same period in 2020; the West region dropped 4.1%, and the North region declined 5.8%.
  • On a year-to-date basis, all regions have seen their median prices rise, with the Southeast region up by the smallest margin, up 6.8%, compared to the January-through-November period last year, followed by the Central region, up 9.1%. Median prices rose between 11.5% and 13.5% in the remaining regions of the state.
  • All measures of inventory fell over the past 12 months, including total listings, which were down 7%; new listings, down 1.9%; and months of available supply, down 10%.
  • The 30-year fixed mortgage rate stood at 3.07% for the second straight month, but it is 30 basis points higher than November 2020. With median prices up 7.6% in November compared to last year, and the median family income projected to have increased just under 1% over that same period, affordability slipped. The Wisconsin Housing Affordability Index fell 9.1% in November 2021 compared to 12 months earlier. Nonetheless, a qualified buyer with median family income, a 20% down payment, and the remaining balance financed with a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage can still afford to buy 192% of the median-priced home in November.

Analysis from the experts

Trends in sales and prices

“Very tight inventory continues to be a drag on sales, so it’s quite remarkable that we are essentially even with last year’s record pace. The flip side is that the mismatch between weak supply and strong demand, especially among millennials, has kept the pressure on prices, with median prices up 9.5% year to date.”

Mary Duff, 2021 Chair of the Board of Directors, Wisconsin REALTORS® Association

Economic impact of the inflation problem

“The biggest economic story of 2021 has been the resurgence of inflationary pressures, and in November, the inflation rate hit 6.8%, a level unseen in nearly 40 years. There are myriad potential economic consequences resulting from unchecked inflation, including slower economic growth and higher mortgage rates. While we don’t believe mortgage rates will rise to the double-digit levels seen in the early 1980s, we do expect mortgage rates to increase in 2022, until the Fed gets inflation under control.”

Dave Clark, Marquette University Economist and WRA Consultant

Mortgage rates and affordability

“Mortgage rates fell to record-low levels in December of last year, and while they increased slightly in 2021, they remained very low by historical standards, which has helped keep Wisconsin housing affordable. We do expect these rates to rise next year, so this is a good time to work with a REALTOR® who is experienced to take advantage of this very favorable mortgage environment.”

Michael Theo, President & CEO, Wisconsin REALTORS® Association

About the WRA

The Wisconsin REALTORS® Association is one of the largest trade associations in the state, representing over 17,500 real estate brokers, salespeople and affiliates statewide. All county figures on sales volume and median prices are compiled by the Wisconsin REALTORS® Association and are not seasonally adjusted. Median prices are only computed if the county recorded at least 10 home sales in the quarter. All data collected by the WRA is subject to revision if more complete data becomes available. Beginning in June 2018, all historical sales volume and median price data from 2015 forward at the county level have been re-benchmarked using the Relitix system that accesses MLS data directly and in real-time. Data prior to January 2015 is derived from the Techmark system that also accessed MLS data directly. The Wisconsin Housing Affordability Index is updated monthly with the most recent data on median housing prices, mortgage rates and estimated median family income data for Wisconsin. Data on state foreclosure activity is compiled by Dr. Russ Kashian at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. 

Note that the WRA employs a slightly different protocol to determine inventory levels than the protocol used by the REALTORS® Association of South Central Wisconsin (RASCW). For consistency, the summary tables for the South Central region reported in the WRA release employ the WRA approach. However, a modified table employing the RASCW methodology is available from the WRA upon request.