If it wasn’t already the goat, this frigid winter is now being blamed for a slump in the housing market.
Sales of existing homes were down 6.8 percent in January compared with the same month in 2013, according to the Wisconsin Realtors Association, which blamed the dip on cold weather.
While January is traditionally the slowest month of the year for Wisconsin home sales, this is the first year since 2009 that January sales did not surpass the previous year’s. It marks the second time in three months that sales have failed to surpass the previous year, after a 28-month streak of year-over-year improvement.
La Crosse County sales fell nearly 27 percent; the entire western region was down just 11.5 percent.
“Our statistics kind of look like the temperature,” said Cindy Gerke, president of the La Crosse Area Realtors Association.
Despite the slump in sales, the statewide median price continued inching upward to $126,900 as the inventory of homes on the market fell.
In La Crosse County, the median sale price in the county dipped to $137,500, although the regional median rose to $140,000, up from $127,500 a year ago.
The average temperature in La Crosse was just 9.4 degrees in January, a full 8 degrees below normal and well below the 19.8 degree average in January 2013, according to National Weather Service records.
While great for skiers and snowmobilers, Gerke said, the harsh weather isn’t a great time to move.
She predicted sales would rebound in February — historically the slowest month for the county — and March, based on new listings and showings.
“I’m not too worried about it,” Gerke said. “I think we’re going to have a very positive spring.”