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Home sales rise in Northern Wisconsin

July home sales were up in scenic northern Wisconsin.

July home sales were up in scenic northern Wisconsin.

As in many other states, Wisconsin moving companies were busier this July than last year, according to recently released Wisconsin Realtors Association sales figures.

Year-over-year, the number of July closings in Wisconsin significantly outpaced 2010, when sales dropped off following the expiration of homebuyer tax credits. Statewide, July sales rose 34.4 percent on a year-over-year basis.

The state's northern region saw the greatest sales increase, of 41.1 percent. John Horning, chairman of the WRA board of directors, attributed this growth to sales of second homes and vacation properties. A high sales volume of lower-cost vacation properties could also explain the 5.9 percent dip in the state's median sales price.

If Horning is correct that well-to-do buyers snatching up affordable vacation houses are driving that state's housing recovery, it reflects a nationwide pattern. The Detroit News reported $1 million-plus sales up in that area this summer, and Coldwell Banker's figures indicated many luxury homes in the San Francisco Bay area were sold in June. Last month, the Luxury Institute released a survey showing one in four Americans earning $150,000 or more a year bought a residential property in the last three years.