Housing inventory hits record low

Published: Jan. 21, 2022 at 3:24 PM CST
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - If you were looking to buy a home last year, you likely had a frustrating experience with a lack of options and intense bidding wars.

In the first month of 2022, it’s only gotten worse as housing inventory falls to a record low.

In December 2019, pre-pandemic, the Realtors Association of Northeast Wisconsin reported 722 homes for sale in Brown County.

Jump ahead two years at that number was 525 last month.

Today, just 314 homes are for sale in Brown County and only 132 remain without accepted offers.

According to real estate agent Ben Bartolazzi, we’re in the midst of an inventory crisis.

“For instance I had a home for sale for $285,000, we had 25 showings on it in a matter of a couple days, 12 offers on it and one person got it, so that shows me just in a matter of two days of 25 showings, if it was on the market for a week, we probably would’ve had 40-some showings, that shows me that there was one person that came out of the market, but there’s 39 more people that are still looking for a home similar to that, so you’re getting all this back up of demand because there’s not housing available for them to purchase,” says Bartolazzi, owner of Ben Bartolazzi Real Estate.

Bartolazzi says the pandemic triggered a number of factors causing a massive imbalance between supply and demand.

The rising cost of rent forced more people into the housing market, as did soaring prices for new home construction.

The increased competition has led inventory to plummet and prices of existing homes to skyrocket.

In 2021, the median sales price for a home in Brown County rose 12-percent, and since the start of the pandemic that number is more than 25-percent.

Those high prices are causing potential sellers to be cautious.

“People don’t want to list their house until they buy a home so you aren’t seeing that inventory, so it’s a reverse, it’s a ball of yarn going down the hill and it keeps getting smaller and smaller,” says Bartolazzi.

As for how 2022 will play out, Bartolazzi admits he’s unsure.

He says rising interest rates could lessen demand, or create a sense of urgency among buyers and increase it.

What is sure, there are very few “for sales” signs right now in neighborhoods across Northeast Wisconsin.

“We need more homes to sell for these buyers to be able to purchase and that’s really going to be the only thing that fixes this,” says Bartolazzi.

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