UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN River Falls

St. Croix Valley Dashboard for April 2017 Released.

The UW-River Falls Center for Economic Research (CER) in partnership with  the St. Croix Economic Development Corporation (SCEDC) has released the latest edition of the St.   Croix Valley Economic Dashboard. The dashboard is a snapshot of economic conditions in labor, consumer, agricultural and housing markets for the seven county St. Croix Valley. It presents the latest available data in one convenient package and can be viewed on the CER's website at  www.uwrf.edu/cer.

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The Local Housing Market

The months of housing inventory estimates how many months it would take to sell all currently listed homes if the number of homes sold remains constant at   current levels.

The sale to list price ratio is the median sale price as a percent of the median listing price. The closer this ratio is to 100% the closer listing and   sale prices match. A high ratio is an indicator of a seller's market and a low ratio is an indicator of a buyer's market.

Dunn housing market being a seller's market favorite has now turned its tables and joined the buyers' market. The Sale to List Price ratio is constantly dropping from past two months and has reached 59.1% from 85.4%. Total of Fifty-one percent drop from past two months. Pierce County went through a slight increase from 75% to 79.1%. On the other hand, Polk is in favor of sellers' market with a radical increase from 79.4% to 94.3%. St.Croix jumped right back to sellers' market by going down this month by 11% and standing at 74.9%. In comparison to last month's data, Months of Housing Inventory has increased for all counties. Dunn County by 4.1%, reflecting 9 months waiting period as of now. Pierce has increased by 1.8% leaving it at 5.9 months. Polk has gone up by 3.0%, standing at 8 months. St. Croix has a negligible increase of 0.1% with no alteration in the waiting period.

The US Economy

Output. Real gross domestic product increased 0.22% percent in comparison to last month data. The Real consumption factor has increased 0.52%. The Real investment continue to raise with a slight increase of 0.13%, whereas the Real Government spending has shown a slight decrease of 0.18%. Employment Cost Index continue to show negative growth in the month of November. Nevertheless, at the same time Initial claims a measure for the number of jobless claims filed by individuals seeking to receive state jobless benefits continuous to decrease in number. Initial claims went down to 24,000 in March 2017. This indicates that labor market is doing well and less people are claiming unemployment benefits. The Total Nonfarm employment shows slight decrease to 2,185,000 in March 2017.

Labor Market.   The Employment Situation Report, (Bureau of Labor Statistics) released on April 07, 2017 reported that the unemployment rate declined to 4.5 % in March, and total nonfarm payroll employment edged up by 98,000. Major employment gains occurred in professional and business services and in mining, while retail trade lost jobs.

As per the Household Survey Data, The number of unemployed persons declined by 326,000 to 7.2 million. The Unemployment rate decreased by 0.2% and stand at 4.5 percent in March. Both measures were down over the year. Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult women (4.0 percent), Whites (3.9 percent), and Hispanics (5.1 percent) dropped in March. The unemployed rates for adult men (4.3 percent), teenagers (13.7 percent), Blacks (8.0 percent), and Asians (3.3 percent) showed little or no change.

Establishment Survey Data reported in March, employment in professional and business services rose by 56,000, about in line with the average monthly gain over the prior 12 months.

Mining added 11,000 jobs in March, Its employment has risen by 35,000 since reaching a recent low in October 2016.In March, employment sustained to trend up in health care (+14,000). Employment in financial activities has increased by 178,000 over the past 12 months. Employment in construction has been trending up since late last summer, largely among specialty trade contractors and in residential building.

Retail trade lost 30,000 jobs in March. Employment in other major industries, including manufacturing, wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, information, leisure and hospitality, and government, showed little or no change over the month.

National Inflation and Interest Rates Consumer Prices in the United States increased 2.4% year on year in March 2017; Lower than 2.7 percent in February and below market expectations of 2.6%. It is the lowest we have hit from past three months. Consumer Price Index (CPI) decreased to 243.75 Index Points in March from 244.46 Index Points in February of 2017. Consumer Price Index CPI in the United States averaged 108.20 Index Points from 1950 until 2017, reaching an all-time high of 244.46 Index Points in February of 2017 and a record low of 23.51 Index Points in January of 1950 as per data collated by Tradingeconomics.com

Employment. As per BLS, Unemployment rate at Wisconsin stands at 3.7% and Minnesota at 4.0%. Wisconsin showed statistically significant employment changes from January 2017 to February 2017, about 11,100 i.e. 0.4 %. Percentage change in nonfarm employment in Wisconsin stands at 0.1% to 1.0% and Minnesota at slightly higher range of 1.1% to 2.0%. The statewide labor market continues to improve, with the March seasonally adjusted unemployment rate now at 3.4 percent, down from 4.1 percent this time last year. The unemployment rate has gone down even though the state labor force has grown over the last 12 months, which means job growth is more than keeping pace with the number of new job seekers.


Housing Market.   The Wisconsin REALTORS® Association recent analysis suggest that, home sales have rebounded sharply in March. Pushing first quarter sales well above their levels last year, even with flat sales through the first two months of 2017. March home sales are up 7.2 percent greater than March 2016. Median inventories have raised to 5.2 percent to $163,000 over past 12 months due to tight inventories. As of now for the first quarter, existing home sales have increased to 3.2 percent and median prices up to 6.4 percent to $159,575 over the same period.

"What is amazing about these record sales is that they are occurring against a backdrop of very tight statewide inventories," said WRA board Chairperson Erik Sjowall, noting that regions with higher inventory saw increased growth in sales. In contrast, sales rose but at a more modest pace in the Southeast region, up 4.7 percent, the South Central region, up 3.4 percent, and the West region, up 2.2 percent. March inventory levels in these regions ranged between 3.8 months and 4.3 months. Whereas rural counties had 8 months of inventory in March, there were just 3.8 months of available supply in the metropolitan counties in the state.

Noting that the income growth is the weaker of the two opposing forces and hence the index has fallen to 222 from 242 last year. "The good news is the typical qualified buyer can purchase more than twice the value of the typical home in Wisconsin, but buyers have to be prepared to move quickly, especially in the red hot urban markets," he said. "REALTORS®know their communities, and they can help creditworthy buyers find bargains even in tight markets," said Theo. Housing affordability has fallen over the last year, due primarily to rising mortgage rates and rising home prices.

  -- 2017 March Home Sale Report

Housing Market in Twin Cities:

With inventory and months of supply stressed to keep up with demand, it will be unusual for some weeks. Where pending sales is declining every year, especially new listings dropping below the standards set. We can endure to see sales prices forge their way upward and affordability go downward which is expected to be a pleasant spring and summer for sellers. As per the data provided by Minneapolis Area Association of REALTORS. In the Twin Cities region, New Listings increased 1.4% to 2,013 whereas Pending Sales decreased 9.1% to 1,337 and Inventory decreased 21.7% to 10,188. For the month of March, Median Sales Price increased 7.0% to $237,500 whereas Days on Market decreased 14.1% to 73. While Percent of Original List Price Received increased 1.3% to 98.1%, the Months' Supply of Homes for Sale decreased 19.2% to 2.1.

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UWRF - Center for Economic Research
College of Business and Economics

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