New real estate sales figures are out for the first quarter of 2015 and they are encouraging. Year-to-date (YTD) sales grew statewide by 6.7% over YTD 2014. Sales in the northern region of the state are even more exciting with transactions up 10.3% over the same timeframe. All but 4 of the 18 northern counties showed an increase in sales with Bayfield County showing one of the largest increases in volume up 44.8%.
Statewide prices are up too with the median price up 7.6% over last year. The strong pricing is likely attributed to a lower number of foreclosure sales in the mix and the brisk sales pace. Most regions across the state show an increase in prices except the northern region. There, an equal number of counties showed lower median prices as higher. Overall median prices were down 4.5% in the North. The more expensive inventory in the North tends to be lakeshore property which historically is more active in the summer months so we expect those numbers to come up as the weather warms.
With interest rates about half a percent lower than last year, housing affordability remains high, essentially unchanged from last year.