These are good times to be a home buyer in the great state of Wisconsin, although one could also say that these are good times to be a home seller as well, here in the lovely Mississippi River bluffs city of La Crosse.

The primary reasons for optimism come to us from the Wisconsin REALTORS® Association (WRA) and its 2013 April Home Sales Report. In summary, this statistical report shows that in spite of steadily growing home prices, housing in Wisconsin continues to be comparatively affordable.

The Wisconsin Housing Affordability Index - which measures the percentage of homes that a median income family can typically afford to purchase, given the availability of a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage with a 20 percent down payment - held strong at 255 in the month of April. In comparison, the National Association of REALTORS'® (NAR's) United States Housing Affordability Index for this year's first quarter was 197.

La Crosse's median home price jumped from $127,000 in April 2012 to $149,000, an increase of more than 17 percent. This elevated sticker price did not seem to do much to temper home buyers' enthusiasm because during that same time frame, home sales in La Crosse registered a 9.5 percent rise.

WRA's 2013 April Home Sales Report also shows that although the median home price rose to $138,000 (a solid 7.8 percent price increase) the total existing home sales for the entire state during the past year saw a 9.20 percent volume increase.

  Median Price Sales
  4/13 4/12 % Change 4/13 4/12 % Change
La Crosse $149,000 $127,000 17.30% 115 105 9.50%
Statewide $138,000 $128,000 7.80% 5863 5367 9.20%

According to Renny Diedrich, the chairman of the board of directors for WRA, the upward mobility trend for La Crosse, and the state of Wisconsin in general, represented in its report is no fluke. Rather, it marks the state's 22nd consecutive month in which home sales growth was positive. Diedrich says that not only is the current pace of home sales solid, it's also sustainable, which offers us yet another encouraging sign that the United States' housing market is making a healthy recovery from its all-too-recent nosedive.

The WSA's statistical report also shows that the overall housing sales for the entire nation, in the year's first fiscal quarter, enjoyed a 9.8 percent increase. Here in America's Dairyland, home sales numbers attained an almost 12 percent jump over the figures from the first quarter in 2012.