Amid a shortage of houses in the $300,000-or-less price range in suburban Milwaukee, sales of existing homes in the metro area slipped 1.4 percent last year, a report released Monday shows.

At the same time, average sale prices rose compared with 2017 in most municipalities in the four-county metropolitan area, according to data from the Greater Milwaukee Association of Realtors.

Although home sales were down a little from the previous year, Mike Ruzicka, president of the local Realtors organization, characterized 2018 as a strong year.

"If we had more inventory under $300,000, we'd have another 4,000 sales," Ruzicka said Monday.

Altogether, 21,060 homes were sold last year in Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Washington, and Waukesha counties, Greater Milwaukee Association of Realtors figures show. That compared with 21,357 in 2017.

Read more in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.